More than 25 Valley businesses gathered in the Umpqua Bank parking lot in North Bend Thursday, June 22, for the first Community Job Fair.
Rob Wotton, manager of Umpqua Bank and event organizer, along with employment assistance agency WorkSource and the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce, invited local businesses to the event to find local people to fill their local job openings.
Wotton said the idea for the event came from a Snoqualmie Economic Development Commission meeting at which Janice Evans, HR director for Technical Glass Products, said it was hard to find local employees.
“Janice Evans came to testify and one of the things she said was it’s hard trying to find local employees,” he said. “We all know that when you hire somebody local, they are going to be a little more loyal, they are going to have more time for their family, and more money stays in the economy.”
Due to the large amount of interest in the event, Wotton had to increase the total amount of spaces available to job seekers after the pre-registration period, when all 135 free spots were snapped up.
“Hopefully it’s because in part we are going to show people the jobs that are here in the Valley,” he said. “These are global companies that are located right here in the Valley and a lot of people don’t realize the diversity of jobs. It’s not just logistics or shipping or customer service, there is a plethora of jobs and needs here. Its a win-win for everyone if we can match somebody that lives here with a job here.”
Another job fair held last year in Snoqualmie did not see the same success as this one, Wotton said, because it was on a Saturday. Based on that feedback, organizers determined to hold the next event on a weekday, so more people could attend.
With the success of the event, Wotton plans to hold more community job fairs in the future.
“This one already has certainly shown there is a need,” he said.