Virtual Job Fair bringing opportunity to get back to work

Posted at 6:24 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 19:25:35-04

MILWAUKEE — Although there are more than half a million people collecting unemployment in Wisconsin, employers say they are desperate to get people back to work.

"Some of the positions in the hospital, we definitely need some more folks to join us," Jessica Summerfield, Recruitment Marketing Specialist for Advocate Aurora said. "We're excited to meet them."

On May 7, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. more than 50 vendors will participate in a virtual job fair, looking to hire hundreds.

"We're really trying to coach job seekers to treat this like they would in an in person event," Laura Catherman, Waukesha Workforce Development Board Director said. "Come dressed for success because there will be the potential to do some video interviewing."

Catherman says the virtual job fair will look a lot like a normal job fair. Participants will access a website and be able to look at the various vendors available. They can click on the ones they're interested in to get more information and possibly interview."

There are jobs in all categories, offering competitive wages.

"We initially thought we would see more of those essential type jobs in healthcare or grocery," Catherman said. "While those are there, we are also seeing things like baking and manufacturing and insurance. It really runs the gamut."

One area is in healthcare. Advocate Aurora says they're hiring for 800 jobs all across the state, with roughly 40 percent of those jobs in Southeast Wisconsin.

"Typically, people will start within a week or two," Summerfield said. "And these are permanent positions. We are hiring temporary roles as well, but these are permanent positions we'll need into the future."

Summerfield says they're hiring for a variety of experience levels with no job starting below $14 per hour. They are looking for clinical roles, registered nurses, nursing assistants and surgical techs.

However, there are other positions open that don't require any certifications.

"Especially in food service and environmental service or housekeeping roles," Summerfield said. "There are a wide variety of full-time, part-time, at all different locations."

Understanding new employees will be thrust into the hot spot of the COVID-19 pandemic, Summerfield says the hospital will compensate employees accordingly.

"Depending on where you're working, if you're in a COVID unit or location where there are a lot of COVID patients, we have some additional pay practices in place right now. Whether you're in a COVID unit itself or in a location that has COVID patients in it. Even if you're in food service but in a location with COVID, there is a bump in pay. From a pay perspective, it's very competitive and compelling."

Other essential businesses are also looking for help. Batteries Plus will participate in the virtual job fair Thursday, looking to hire more than a dozen new people.

"We're focusing our hiring in our stores and our distribution center," Carole Witkowski, Vice President of Human Resources at Batteries Plus said. "So there will be a handful of positions that we have immediately open."

Witkowski says positions range in pay from $10 to $15 per hour and can go even higher.

Catherman expects more than 1,500 people to participate in the virtual job fair, so it's important to do what you can to stand up. She suggests treating this as if it were a regular job interview, but keep in mind you will be in your home.

"Dress for success," Catherman said. "Present yourself like you would if you were in person. I think you want to be mindful of what's in your background. Certainly, you don't want to have a very distracting background while you're on video and you wouldn't want something in the background that might raise any questions about you. I think having something that's fairly neutral would be a safe place to start."

Here's the Rebound Rundown:

  • Dress for success
  • Make the room you're in as presentable as you are
  • Update your resume and be ready to speak about your experiences

Ultimately, Catherman says this is a new experience for many employers too.

"Don't be too hard on yourself and just come ready to talk about your skills," Catherman said. "What would you bring to that company."

It's free to sign up for the job fair. Those interested can find more information here.

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