'Economic recovery starts here,' says employment & training dept head
The new head of Niagara County's Employment and Training Department has set helping local businesses find quality employees as his agency's top goal, announcing an April job fair that will bring prospective employees together with employers seeking workers.
"The (Niagara) County Legislature has been very consistent on its message throughout the U.S. recession: jobs, jobs, jobs," said Thomas Jaccarino, who took over the county department last month. "Our county's economic development policies have been about creating jobs, and this agency's focus continues to be about helping people find jobs, and helping businesses find quality employees."
Jaccarino announced his department would host a spring job fair on from 1 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6, at Antonio's Banquet & Conference Center (the in-house restaurant at the Quality Inn Niagara), 7708 Niagara Falls Blvd. So far, Jaccarino noted job fair planners are expecting about 50 employers seeking workers in fields as diverse as medical and health care, secretarial and administrative work, machining, manufacturing, retail and transportation.
Jaccarino said his agency views job seekers and employers as having equally important goals.
"The weakened U.S. economy took its toll on businesses," he said. "We had considered raising the fee for businesses to take part in this event, but with the realization that businesses still have limited recruiting budgets, we proposed freezing that rate at $75 per business for the time being, and the Legislature supported that position."
Jaccarino noted he had worked closely with Community Services Committee Chairman Pete Smolinski, R-North Tonawanda, in planning the event.
"Legislator Smolinski said helping people get back to work was our No. 1 goal, but that just as important was helping businesses find the right workers as they expand again," Jaccarino said. "He and his colleagues in the Legislature were very clear: Get workers and employers in the same room together, no matter what it takes."
For the $75 fee, businesses will be provided a skirted table and the benefits of an aggressive marketing campaign - including advertising in local newspapers, radio, online, and at the county's One-Stop Career Centers. That fee also includes a lunch for one company representative.
Event planners anticipate more than 500 potential job candidates to attend. Attendance for job seekers is free.
Jaccarino offered advice to would-be job seekers:
"Research the companies that have registered to attend the job fair and then prepare some targeted résumés for the companies and opportunities you are most excited about. We can also make copies at the job fair of your generic resume for you to distribute to other companies," he said. "Of course, we will also have a generic application on site, which applicants can fill out and make copies of for those companies who wish to save time and money by using them. Our goal is to bring the right candidates to the right companies."
A continuously updated list of companies attending the job fair can be found at www.wnyjobs.com. Click on the "Career Fairs and Open Houses" link in the lower left corner.
Jaccarino worked closely with several other local entities to expand the scope and impact of the job fair. Sponsoring the job fair, along with the employment and training department - the center operator of Niagara's WorkSourceOne One-Stop Career Center - are the Niagara County Workforce Investment Board, the New York State Department of Labor, ACCES/VR, the Niagara County Department of Social Services, Niagara County Community College, Everywoman Opportunity Center, Orleans/Niagara BOCES, and the Niagara County Center for Economic Development.
"We are concerned with one thing here: bringing people together who need each other," Jaccarino said. "The last two years have been a difficult time for everyone, but we take the view that economic recovery starts here. There are companies that are ready to expand, and they need workers. And there are workers that want a chance to re-enter the workforce, or to move up, or to jump to the right career. We're here to help both of them."
Businesses that would like to register for the Niagara County spring job fair can call Marilyn Behm, employment and training's business services specialist, at 278-8236.