Saturday, April 22, 2006

Career fair attracts several hundred with 85 employers

Article Launched: 04/07/2006 6:42 AM PDT

Career fair attracts several hundred
Event features 85 employers

By Amanda Janis/Business Writer

Taneshia Washington, of Fairfield, uses some wall space to fill out an application during a career fair held Thursday at the Cordelia branch of the University of Phoenix. (Joel Rosenbaum/The Reporter)

More than a thousand job seekers and 85 employers were united Thursday at a regional career fair organized by the Workforce Investment Board of Solano County in partnership with University of Phoenix.

"It's fair to say we're bursting at the seams in terms of employer demand, job seekers, the variety of things we can offer

in one day, in one setting," said Robert Bloom, president of the county organization that aids employers and employees.

Nearly 20,000 square feet of the university's Fairfield campus were filled with the employers' booths embodying a wide array of industries, including biotechnology, banking, health care, education, law enforcement, and retail - to name a few.

Rodger Rosenberg, regional people development manager for Radio Shack, was impressed with the fair's turnout, noting he'd run out of freebies for job seekers mid-way through the five-hour fair.

"It's an exceptional turnout. This is probably the best turnout I've seen at a job fair in the last 18 months, and this is what I do for a living," he remarked.

Rosenberg, who attends eight to 10 job fairs a month, added that the fair's attendance wasn't the only thing that impressed him, but "the cali-ber of people that I'm finding today. This is definitely far above what I've seen in quite a while."

Caroline Cunningham, manager of staffing for Alza Corp., said she'd seen quite a few applicants who would be great a match for some of the biotech firm's manufacturing jobs.

"Our whole application process is all online so we've encouraged many people to go in and apply for specific jobs," she said.

The fair attracted a diverse group attendees, seeking all levels and types of employment.

Kathy Fallon, an unemployed Benicia resident, came looking for data entry or administrative positions, while Contra Costa County resident Doria Addison was simply looking to change jobs.

"Whether it's a retail, receptionist, or cashier (position)," Addison said, she's simply looking to develop her resume and garner new experience.

Vallejo resident Henry Williams, currently employed in the pharmaceutical industry, came to the job fair for one main reason: Genentech.

"Of course," he added, "I'm going to look around and see who's here, what's going on."

As Williams was bound to find, the Workforce Investment Board made sure that quite a bit was going on in terms of industries and employers represented.

"We've chosen to make it an overall opening for any and all businesses, which we think is appropriate for this economy," Bloom explained.

Response from employers was so strong, Bloom noted, that they were unable to accommodate all who wished to participate and have a presence at the fair. A waiting list for future employment fairs has been created.

The strong response, he said, represents the value employers see in Solano County's work force.

Amanda Janis can be reached at

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