With the pandemic having affected the workforce, the Economic Development Alliance of Brazoria County thought now would be a good time to bring back its job fair.
“We did two a year at the Corporate Learning Center and the last two, we only had 100 at one and 66 at the last one,” President and CEO Gary Basinger said. “So we decided to put it on hold for a couple of years because everyone who wanted a job had a job and no one was showing up.”
Typically, the job fairs averaged about 400 people, with turnout closer to 800. While 2019’s fair had about 66 people in total, Thursday’s event at the Dow Academic Center at Brazosport College saw 60 visitors within the first hour and 163 in all.
“The thing that is different about this one is that it’s not an industrial job fair, it’s just a job fair,” Basinger said. “This is the first job fair we’ve done where if you’re a member of the Alliance a booth is free.”
They hope to host one such fair per year, he said.
Kim Degreef was one of those looking for a job. She said she was nervous, not knowing what to expect, but hoped to find an opportunity in her career field, health administration.
Thursday’s fair was Tyler Williams’ first, but he was looking forward to the in-person interaction, and was open to new opportunities.
“I am looking for a new career path and to see if anything here changes my mind,” he said. “I like in-person interviews. Maybe find a new career path, something different.”
There were about 18 booths, including from the cities of Lake Jackson and Clute, BASF, Wood, Brazosport College, Alvin Community College, Hargrove Engineers, Sorrell Construction and On the River restaurant.
“We’re hoping to get our name out in the community and meet any talent we could find,” said Lindsey Hindman, senior human resources generalist for Alvin Community College. “Our main goal today is maybe if someone doesn’t have the background to get the job they want, to look at our education side.”
Sharon Music was laid off because of the pandemic, and was excited to hear about the job fair and available opportunities to return to work, she said.
“I’ve been applying for jobs online but when you go to a job fair it’s a little different,” Music said. “It’s new to me and informative. It’s really hard to get back out in the job world after being unemployed for a year.”
Companies also hoped to make connections with those in need and want of a job.
Sorrell Construction was impressed with the quantity of people who attended, Vice President Brookes Sorrell said.
“We’ve been in business here for over 43 years now, we’re a family-owned and operated company and we’re looking for people in the area,” Sorrell said. “I know times have been tough, people being laid off, and people are just now getting back in the workforce, so we’re hoping to meet new people and see if anyone is interested in us.”