Experiencing Northern Michigan: JOBfest at the Park Place in Traverse City
Whether employed and just looking to see what’s out there or presently unemployed and ready to start a new career, job-seekers sprung into action to attend the first-ever JOBfest, held last Wednesday, April 3 at the Park Place Hotel and Conference Center in Downtown Traverse City. For many businesses in Northern Michigan, the search for qualified workers can be challenging. With jobless rates at a twenty-year low here Up North, it can be hard for specialized employers to locate their most ideal prospective candidates, and equally difficult for eager applicants who might otherwise spend hours searching for open positions without connecting to the opportunities that best utilize their skills in a particular field.
This inaugural JOBfest event, considered to be “the largest employee recruiting event ever held in Northern Michigan,” was free for job-seekers and open to the public. The theme: Now Hiring 2019! 9&10 News and Radio Centre teamed up to connect the Northern Michigan community with the area’s top businesses that are hiring now. Presented by Blain’s Farm and Fleet, TC JOBfest started with 9&10 News Local Sales Manager Alex Wolf and the folks at WTCM Radio. This media partnership offered the ability to advertise widely on both television and radio, reaching Up North audiences eager to apply for a diverse range of skilled positions.
To attract potential candidates who work various shifts throughout the day, JOBfest opened from 11am to 7pm inside the newly renovated Conference Center. As the morning setting up for the event progressed into a bustling afternoon, over a hundred people registered within the first hour, and the turnout all day proved to be incredible! The 9&10 News event team that helped make JOBfest possible reported over 600 job-seekers from around the Traverse City area visited the Park Place to meet local employers currently hiring for hundreds of positions, in fields ranging from construction and manufacturing to the military and the medical field. Many people arrived dressed to impress in their business casual best, with crisp folders of freshly printed resumes in hand, ready to land a new job.
A total of 30 area businesses were represented at this first-ever JOBfest event in Traverse City, all of which are looking to fill skilled positions with local workers. Employers currently looking for new hires include: Lear Corporation, Cordia Senior Living, Army National Guard, American Waste, Springfield Roofing, Biewer Lumber, The Lighthouse Rehab Center, UA Local 85, Sara Lee, Bloxsom Roofing, Horizon Builders, Member Box, My Green Fills, Modern District Financial Solutions, Global Asphalt Solutions, Dean Transportation, B&P Manufacturing, Cherry Capital Airport, Speedway, Serra Auto, Spectrum Charter, Beacon Specialized Living, Foundation Systems, Boardman Glens Lake, Blain’s Farm and Fleet, the US Navy of Traverse City, and the US Air Force of Traverse City.
During the event, candidates were able to connect with hiring employers and learn about employee benefits, healthcare packages, and workplace culture. There was even an open conference room at JOBfest for employers to use for interviewing exceptional applicants on-site. Northwest Michigan Works! was also present helping prospective employees write cover letters and update their resumes on the spot, alongside Radio Centre, Mane Content, Northern Michigan Digital, and 9&10 News, who all served as co-hosts and greeters for the event. After helping with setup in the morning, I joined the Mane Content table, where I handed out my business cards and talked with visitors about how we make creative videos and advertising for TV, social media, websites, and more, for businesses and people in Michigan and beyond. It was awesome meeting so many interesting, employable people in Traverse City!
After six weeks of preparation working alongside dozens of Traverse City businesses, TC JOBfest came to life last Wednesday and achieved success thanks to the interest and support of the NoMi community. Feedback on this past week’s event was so positive that there are already talks about organizing future JOBfest events in the Northern Michigan region. In the coming weeks, we’ll hear more statistics about how many people were hired as a direct result of this unique event. There’s already talk about hosting another JOBfest event in Traverse City again soon, and expanding JOBfest into other locations Up North, like Cadillac, a community with many available jobs, especially for factory workers.
It’s not always easy finding good work—or good workers—in Northern Michigan today. Living in smaller communities Up North, you might feel like the prospects are somewhat diminished compared to what you might find downstate or elsewhere. Yet that’s precisely why it’s so important to attend events like JOBfest, meet new people (especially potential employers) face-to-face, and network with those who you’d like to connect to—including those who are working the jobs that interest you, so you can learn and grow—because you never know when your next opportunity might rise to meet you.