Finding workers in tight labor market
Job fair created exclusive time for veterans

By LAUREN ANDERSON - Freeman Staff

April 21, 2017


Ramon Roman, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, speaks with Erin Beyer and Rosanne Kopet, who were representing TRN Technical at a job fair held at WCTC on Thursday.

Lauren Anderson/Freeman Staff

PEWAUKEE — As Wisconsin’s unemployment numbers continue to drop, employers were all the more eager to find qualified workers at a job fair on Thursday.

The Workforce Development Center Job Fair, a biennial event hosted at Waukesha County Technical College, is aimed at connecting area employers with hundreds of job seekers.

The first half-hour of the three-hour event was reserved for veterans to connect with employers, while the remainder of the fair was open to the public.

Recruiters and hiring managers came from a variety of industries, including customer service, health care, hospitality, information technology, logistics, manufacturing and sales.

An estimated 600 job seekers attended the event, including many WCTC students poised to graduate next month.

Laura Catherman, president of the Waukesha-Ozaukee-Washington Workforce Development Board, said the event helps address a pressing need for area employers.

“We know there is an increasingly tight labor market here in the greater Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington county region, so our goal is to bring together in one space as many employers as can fit and bringing them together with qualified job seekers who are ready to get to work,” she said.

Catherman said the event brought in 145 companies, with many more on a waiting list.

It’s the first year the event has designated a time for veterans to participate in the fair.

“We know that veterans play a huge role in the workforce and we want to honor their service and give them an extra half-hour to network,” she said.

Austin Anderson, an account manager at Aerotek, a staffing agency, said there are plenty of vacancies, which has given candidates their pick of jobs.

“Companies are hiring right now so we’re trying to find the best talent and that’s what we’re here to do,” he said. “We have tons of openings right now and it seems to be a candidate’s market, so candidates can be kind of picky.”

Catherman said the event gives job seekers an extra edge as they are able to make a personal connection with a prospective employer.

“More and more we see job applications completed online,” she said. “... But being able to talk to a company face to face and make a first impression that you may not get if you’re submitting an application online or email, is huge and an employer will remember you.”

In some cases, employers interview candidates on the spot at the fair, and some seekers even walk away with an offer.