Connecting communities to careers

Communities of Opportunity (COO) aims to bring attention to the systematic barriers that can impact people of color from accessing the support and resources they need to thrive economically. Last month COO, King County Veterans Program (KCVP), King County Jobs Initiative (KCJI), and Career Connections brought together job seekers and employers to share and learn about open job opportunities, career paths, and job training. The job fair, part of an initiative to ensure all King County residents thrive economically, took place at King County’s Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) office in Tukwila and attracted over 150 job seekers and 19 employers with job openings in South King County and Seattle. Job fairs, such as this one, ensure opportunities are more equitably dispersed throughout the region to reach all of our communities.

Opportunity for allPie chart-job fair demographics (2)

To ensure all people in King County have the economic opportunities they need to thrive, COO and our partners work to serve the full diversity of King County. Interpreters and materials in Spanish, Vietnamese, Amharic, Somali, and French were available to bring more diversity to the candidate pool, and the job fair was held in a location that is more accessible to a wider range of residents to increase the opportunity for all people to learn about job and training opportunities. Inviting employers with jobs located in South King County and South Seattle that match with the interests of job seekers and inviting employers that are motivated to deeply engage with or interview job seekers at the job fair are also ways to help increase access to employment opportunities and to bring diversity in the candidate pool.

The efforts to bring together a diverse group of candidates to the job fair made a difference: 78% of job seekers were South King County residents, 57% were people of color, 44% were Rainer Valley, Central District, White Center, SeaTac, Tukwila, and Kent residents–COO go first communities; 23% of job seekers were servicemembers, veterans or their family members; and 20% were age 55 or older.

Face to face connections

The job fair provided an opportunity for job seekers and employers, such as Exotic Metals Forming Company, King County Metro, Macy’s Distribution Center, Uyeta Landscape, King County Sheriff’s Office and Home Depot, to make face to face connections. For employers, face to face interaction provided value to their recruiting efforts and allowed them to quickly move candidates with the skills they were seeking to the next step of their hiring process. To help employers and job seekers make connections that lead to employment opportunities, private space was provided for employers to conduct onsite interviews during the job fair. This unique job fair feature helped employers learn more about candidates interested in their job openings and helped job seekers progress to the next step in the hiring process while conserving time and resources. Eight different employers conducted onsite interviews with candidates, from those interviews 23 people either received contingent job offers or progressed to the next step in the hiring process.

For job seekers the opportunity to ask face to face questions about specific job openings to determine if the job was the right fit for them before applying was a unique opportunity. Job seekers could also talk to many employers in a short time and learn about critical aspects of the job such as work culture and day to day schedules.

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Working Together

Our partners join us in seeking to create a more equitable King County. Together we provide more opportunities for all of King County’s residents to thrive. Economic opportunity through workforce development that includes local hires, support of new local businesses, and inclusion of youth is one of the pillars for COO’s work, along with housing, health and community connections. KCVP provides holistic and continuous service such as social engagement programs and volunteer opportunities to reduce isolation. Investments from the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy will scale KCVP’s long standing emergency financial assistance, housing system coordination, case management and social work supports, along with education and employment resources and placements for veterans and their families. Career Connections empowers homeless families and individuals for career success and self-sufficiency by integrating housing, education, employment and community support services. Employment services include job skill development, resume development, mock interviews, job referrals, and limited vocational training support. KCJI reduces poverty by providing low-income adult King County residents with vocational and skills training, and job development services. KCJI works with employers by providing skilled and ready to work applicants at no cost to employers. A Social Services Specialist works to ensure participants eligible for enrollment are provided with assessment, job training, supportive services, and placement and retention services.

Upcoming Job Fairs

For more opportunities to learn about careers and job training check out our upcoming job fairs:

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