Steamboat Springs The Colorado Workforce Center was in a bind. How do you host a job fair when there are no jobs available? The solution, said employment specialist Brian Bradbury, was the Routt County Summer Resource Fair, with information and services available for the unemployed.
By filling the empty employer booths with spaces for resume specialists, health information and child care options, the fair drew 110 people from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Bradbury said.
That's not nearly the 250 people who packed into Olympian Hall for the winter job fair, but it was a way to provide information to people who are seeking employment, he said.
"We talked to the presenters, all of the community resource people, and they were very tickled. They wished there were more people there, but they got to assist some people that maybe they would not have been able to assist sitting in their offices," he said.
Liza Scudder, general manager of Segafredo Italian cafe, one of the four businesses searching for employees at Thursday's resource fair, said she chose to set up a booth at the fair based on the number of quality applicants she saw at the winter job fair.
"It's a good response," she said about the winter job fair. "People have been quality. I'm able to weed out the ones we might not really be applicable to."
Scudder was looking for baristas and bartenders for the cafe, based in the Sheraton Steamboat Resort. The restaurant, along with the Sheraton, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. and Prudential Steamboat Realty, were the only companies advertising open positions. Workforce Center job fairs usually draw more than 30 potential employers, Bradbury said.
Luke Walker, a lifelong Steamboat Springs resident and Colorado State University graduate who was carrying a portfolio with him, said that despite the small number of job options, the feedback he got from the resume specialists with Resort Recruiters made this the best fair he's been to.
"I'm kind of just starting from scratch - trying to figure out my new direction," he said. "I have (been to other job fairs), but I got the most out of this one."
Walker said the recruiters gave him interview practice, "tweaks" for his resume and the confidence that he will be able to find a job.
One booth that didn't see many visitors was that of Lawrence Glueck, bankruptcy attorney. He was asked to attend the fair to give advice to people who may have trouble paying for mortgages or car payments while unemployed, but he said he left at noon because nobody had stopped by the booth in the first two hours.
"It was an OK idea, but there didn't end up being any interested people there. They were more interested in finding jobs," he said.
The next fair by the Workforce Center may be more of a combination of resources for the unemployed and jobs, Bradbury said, as long as the number of potential employers increases.