Cedar Rapids job fair eliminates barriers, connects community, refugees with employers

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 6:07 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - IowaWORKS and other groups hosted an Entry Level and Beyond Job Fair at Hoover Elementary in Cedar Rapids.

Community School Coordinator Lemi Tilahun says the event at Hoover Elementary came after a needs-based assessment showed families in the school wanted help connecting with employers. Specifically, people were looking for jobs that paid well and were accessible with flexible scheduling.

The job fair also emphasized being inclusive for refugees and immigrants who may have language barriers.

“Just because there is our language barrier or other barriers, that doesn’t mean the skills are not transferable,” Tilahun said. “A lot of people come with great skills that could be such an asset to our community, but just may need that shot.”

IowaWORKS helps host many events like this. Workforce advisor Curt Wheeler said it’s crucial to bring employers to where people are. He encouraged people to take advantage of in-person hiring events.

“Pretty much across industries they are all saying they need people, they’re not able to find the people they need and a lot of these positions these are entry-level and up,” Wheeler said.

Partners organizing the job fair alongside IowaWORKS were the Cedar Rapids Public Library, the Opportunity Center at Ladd Library, Tanager Place, Hoover Elementary School, YPN, Catherine McAuley Center, and United We March Forward.

The Cedar Rapids Public Library set up the Library’s Mobile Technology Lab at the event to assist participants with creating and printing resumes, as well as with online job applications.

At the Cedar Rapids, IowaWORKS Center, Wheeler said they will continue to offer weekly hiring events, bringing in employers every Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

IowaWORKS is hosting another job fair in Iowa City on Thursday, September 30. More information on that event can be found here.

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