The Chicago Urban League is hosting the 2017 Citywide Job Fair – one of the largest career fairs the city has to offer – with co-sponsor, Jobcase, starting at 10-2 pm. on June 21 at the University of Illinois at Chicago Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd.
Andrew Wells, director of workforce development for the CUL, said his organization is interested in both workforce development and helping people start their own businesses. He explained both entrepreneurs and members of the greater workforce community both play a role in lowering high poverty rate within minority communities.
“When you bring in an income it increases the tax base in your community and it also pays for schools and helps you acquire key assets in the community,” said Wells. “It’s best that the people in the community have employment so that they can invest in their community. Also, with regards to economic development, it’s important that people who desire to start their own business to get education and knowledge that they need to get going. We’re hoping that that would alleviate some of the stresses within the community.”
Wells described CUL’s relationship with Jobcase as “very successful” and “mutual beneficial on both ends”.
Jobcase is an online platform that provides its users with the opportunity to join a community that can offer feedback about careers and give best practices; provide reviews of a business and endorse a fellow user; and search for jobs and companies.
Fred Goff, CEO of Jobcase, estimated 61 employers like Amazon, Illinois State Police, Indiana Tech, YMCA and more would be on-hand at the Fair. He suggested job seekers should engage in “polite persistence” in following up for jobs to improve the likelihood of securing a job.
Wells said the Fair has been improved over the years by taking the feedback given by job seekers and employers from previous years. He said job seekers wanted to see a “robust group of employers from every sector” at the Fair. He said 5,000 individuals have registered for the job Fair through Jobcase prior to the day of the event. He recognized the Fair should provide attendees with real opportunities.
“We definitely would not be doing this job fair if it was just a dog and pony show where you just bring your resume and a company hands you some of their marketing materials,” said Wells. “To me, a job fair is about having real conversations with the employers and then the employers with the job seekers will have those one-on-one.”
Wells said separate rooms will be made available for further conversations with job seekers and employers if an employer wants to engage in immediate discussions.
The CUL conducted a series of Fair readiness programs which gave job seekers an opportunity to work with specialists who could assist with resumes, develop 30-second elevator pitches, and more leading up to the event.
“Employers always want to see people ready to impress and they also want you to put your best foot forward,” said Wells.