In today’s economic environment, uncertainty is all around us—businesses not fully opened because they cannot find workers, job seekers worried about daycare, transportation, and pandemic safety concerns, as well as the conclusion of pandemic unemployment benefits—and in July, the Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation [CCEDC] and Workforce Resource implemented the second of three job fairs to mitigate some of that uncertainty.

With the added stress of unemployment benefits ending soon and the pressure of returning to work at the same time as children preparing to go back to school, these job fairs were organized to help those Chippewa Valley citizens by streamlining the job search process, facilitating direct introduction to employers, and making the job search easy and enjoyable to do on a beautiful day at the park. The city of Chippewa Falls, Workforce Resource, and over 55 hiring businesses collaborated with the CCEDC to make this job fair pleasant and easy for the job seeker. The companies set up booths with their inventory of open positions, and hired job seekers on the spot. Qualified applicants received a complimentary barbeque lunch from the food truck, Bubbles BBQ, just for visiting and applying.

The Riverfront Park served as an excellent, well-trafficked location, which brought lots of visibility to the hiring companies. Roughly 200 job seekers ventured out into the park and explored the many job opportunities, benefits, and pay ranges, so they can make a better decision for their families. Job seekers came from all over the Chippewa Valley to scope out the many open positions that over 55 companies were offering. Scorch from 92.9 the X was even there, broadcasting live from the event and entertaining park goers, which drew other attendees to the park.

Since many companies were able to gather together in the same place, job seekers had access to a plethora of different career opportunities. It also gave the employers present a chance to network with area businesses, talk about future developments for the workforce, and just catch up after being stuck at home due to the pandemic. The CCEDC’s mission is to help existing businesses—it’s the cornerstone of what we do—and solving talent/workforce issues are an integral part of executing our mission. The CCEDC was able to discuss with community businesses on attracting talent and how they can help these businesses with their future endeavors. The CCEDC took the opportunity to visit with the companies to gather feedback for future communication with our local leaders, and they plan on organizing more events to help local businesses attract talent, engage the area’s workforce, and mentor the next generation of workers.

In order for businesses to grow and expand, it needs a stable and plentiful workforce. The Riverfront Job Fair was a community effort to bring the workforce directly to the many avenues that they can take in their careers. The economy of the Chippewa Valley will continue to grow from the connections made between job seekers, employers, and vendors. The pandemic was only a bump in the road; the area has many exciting opportunities ahead. CCEDC’s final talent attraction event is anticipated to occur in the last week of September or the first week of October, after the CCEDC’s Annual Meeting on August 27th. Stay tuned and follow us on Facebook for more updates on this.