Employment seekers will get a hand in finding their next gig Wednesday when the One-Stop Career Center staff members host a job fair in the atrium outside the office on San Felipe Road. The fair is expected to have 20 to 25 employers who are looking to fill an opening at their businesses.
Enrique Arreola, the deputy director of Community Services and Work Force Development, said the focus this year will be on helping those who need a job connect with potential employers.
“This year it’s not linked to anything else,” Arreola said. “We are expecting a good turnout with residents. It comes at a good time because the economy is still not doing too good.”
Last year and in some previous years, Arreola’s agency partnered with the Economic Development Corporation to put on the job fair in conjunction with a community spotlight on local businesses and nonprofits. Without an EDC director this year, they decided to drop the spotlight to focus just on the job fair.
Arreola said though unemployment was last reported at 11.6 percent in San Benito, it is expected to increase going into the winter months. In February, unemployment in the county was reported at 18.1 percent, according to the state Employment Development Department.
“Many people believe there are no jobs, but that is a fallacy,” Arreola said. “There are jobs – it’s just a lot more people are in the search. When you have a job opening, there could be 50 to 100 people competing.”
The One-Stop Career Center collaborates with the EDD, other nonprofits that are aimed at finding employment for target populations such as veterans or senior citizens, and local businesses.
He said more people with professional experience are applying for entry-level jobs. Arreola offered a few suggestions to give job seekers a competitive edge. Key to success is a resume, references and professional attire.
“Anyone that comes in just needs to be ready to network, shake hands – firm hand shakes,” he said. “The confidence needs to be there – eye contact, a good tone. Have the resume all together, a cover letter and references. Everything’s got to be together.”
The One-Stop Career Center offers a variety of workshops throughout the year for those seeking work. They include topics ranging from resume building, interview skills, the labor market and more.
“Some (people) have been out of work for a while so their confidence has really diminished,” Arreola said. “A lot have said, ‘What’s the use?’ It’s really important to get a boost if they come to a workshop…All we want is to become a vehicle that can lead them toward employment. It’s not guaranteed, but they need to knock and doors need to be opened.”