Dozens of local employers coming to area job fair

The East Central Minnesota Job Fair 2014 event is set for April 22 at the Armed Forces Reserve and Community Center, 505 Spirit River Drive S., Cambridge. Photo supplied
The East Central Minnesota Job Fair 2014 event is set for April 22 at the Armed Forces Reserve and Community Center, 505 Spirit River Drive S., Cambridge.
Photo supplied

Area employers are hoping to make a connection with job seekers at the East Central Minnesota Job Fair 2014 next week in Cambridge.

Almost 30 businesses of various concentrations have signed up for the event’s initial year, scheduled from 12:30-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, at the Armed Forces Reserve and Community Center. The facility, 505 Spirit River Drive S., is located just south and across the street from the Anoka Ramsey Community College’s Cambridge Campus.

The job fair is free and open to anyone in search of employment in the counties of Isanti, Chisago, Pine, Kanabec and Mille Lacs. News of the event has already spread to job seekers throughout the region, including regional colleges and educational institutions.

Eric Champion, president of the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce, said the idea of forming a regional job fair began with a conversation between the state Department of Employment and Economic Development, or DEED, and local community leaders around the time of Minnesota Manufacturing & Technology Week last October.

In Cambridge, Champion and city Economic Development Director Stan Gustafson gauged the interest of local manufacturers and found they were on board with participating in such an event. As a result, the need was determined.

“Their answer was an overwhelming ‘Yes,’” Champion said.

A partnership formed to help organize and spread word of the job fair to employers of all business types and job seekers across the five county region. The partners include DEED, Chisago County Economic Development Authority, city of Cambridge Economic Development, city of Isanti Economic Development, Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce, North Branch Area Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Workforce Center.

For job seekers who plan on attending, they are encouraged to dress for success and bring their resume and a list of references because a good variety of manufacturing and industrial companies, staffing agencies, health care providers and more may be offering on-the-spot interviews in private booths or rooms. People will find tables with job applications to fill out, as well.

Representatives from ECM Publishers Inc., the job fair’s media sponsor, and Grand Casino Hinckley, the refreshment sponsor, also will be attending.

“Everyone stands to benefit. We hope to make it an annual event,” Champion said. “It’s tough to find good help, skilled help, and this is a way to help employers fill their business needs. It’s worth their (both participating businesses and job seekers) time to take advantage of this event.

“The end game is everybody walks away happy, and we put businesses in touch with prospective employees,” he added.

Linda Yozamp, area manager of DEED’s job service division, said the East Central region has not hosted a job fair in some time, while there are parts of the five-county area that have had significant unemployment rates with people looking for work.

“We want people who live here to be aware of the job openings that are out there and to keep them in their communities,” she noted.

The job fair, which is intended to involve a variety of employers and job opportunities, is an opportunity for job seekers to meet with and talk shop with area companies in a single location. Workers can talk about their job skills or learn about the skills required for a certain job, and employers can relay on any job openings.

Yozamp credited the job fair organizers for their cooperation and “tremendous response” in wanting to host such an event for businesses and people living in their communities. By working in concert on boosting the regional workforce, she added, the result could mean expansion plans for area businesses and a higher sense of community for those who find more quality time with family due to shorter commutes to work.

“We’re trying to get the word (of the job fair) out to people living in neighboring counties,” Yozamp said. “We want to keep businesses local and keep individuals and their talents in the area. If we can tell people about a job opening in their backyard, it’s a plus for both employers and job seekers. It’s a win-win to make this connection.”

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