COVID-19 changed the economic landscape of United States, forcing many people out of their jobs and eviscerating local economies.
In Kentucky, the unemployment peaked at 16.1% in April 2020 during the pandemic. For people searching to return to the workforce after the height of the pandemic, events like career fairs help connect those job seekers with prospective employers.
The Kentucky Career Center, in partnership with the Kenton County Public Library, is offering the New Year, New Career Job Fair to help Northern Kentuckians find new career paths.
Held on Jan. 26 from 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Erlanger Branch of the KCPL, the career fair will feature development options such as onsite personal career coaching, resume building and face-to-face conversations with employers.
“It’s really important that these events have quite a bit of diversity in terms of the employers that are represented, the types of positions that they have available,” said Lauren Allhands, director of Kentucky Career Center Operations. “Really the heart of what we do is connecting job seekers to employers and that means meeting people where they are. So really creating job fairs that are inclusive and accessible to everyone.”
Large companies such as Amazon, Kroger, Fidelity Investments, Citi Bank, CVG Airport, St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Perfetti Van Melle are participating in the career fair. Small businesses and nonprofits such as the Life Learning Center, NorthKey Community Care, Kenton County Public Library, Hydepark Hospitality and the Brighton Center are also participating. In total, 40 businesses are participating in the job fair.
It will be the 10th annual iteration of the New Year, New Career Career Expo. With a past track record of success, the event organizers want to return the fair to its former glory before the onset of the pandemic.
“Our world has changed due to COVID and it’s going to change the way that we approach job fairs and hiring events,” said Steven Peed, business services representative at the Brighton Center. “This one, we’re trying to get back to how we used to do things. Not necessarily old school, but we’re also providing some services to get people back on their feet.”
There will be a wide range of job options for participants, ranging from part-time jobs, labor positions and other entry level office positions. Event organizers told LINK nky they wanted to invite a diverse range of employers to connect with the broadest range of job seekers possible.
“We spread it out so that we cover all the demographics: the person who’s seeking the business end of a position but also the entry level, but everyone in between as well,” Peed said.
Allhands has worked in the career development industry for nine years. In her experience, services like a career field have the power to change a person’s life for the better, oftentimes connecting people with a sense of accomplishment upon receiving a job offer.
“It’s certainly gratifying to be a part of a person’s journey of gaining employment,” said Allhands. “It’s neat to just see that as a process unfold. What I think is the most gratifying in the work is seeing a person’s confidence level about themselves and their situation change as a result of that job offer.”