Job fair held in New London
By John Faucher
Twenty-six employers attended the Waupaca County Job Fair held at the Washington Center in New London, on Oct. 29. It was the first time the event took place in New London.
The Waupaca County Economic Development Corporation, City of New London, and the New London Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored the event.
“It was wonderful to have the Waupaca County Job Fair here in New London,” said Laurie Shaw, Executive Director of the New London area Chamber of Commerce.
“The Washington Center worked well from our perspective and we are hoping that this first time effort will produce annual fall job fairs in New London,” said Shaw.
Approximately 70 job seekers showed up at the job fair in New London.
Attendance numbers of job seekers were down from previous fairs held in Waupaca; however, Shaw said employers did not expect a huge turnout given the current low unemployment rate.
Unemployment numbers across the region were low according to the September 2015 available data.
The unemployment rate for Waupaca County was at 3.6 percent. Outagamie County was slightly lower at 3.1 percent. Winnebago County was at 3.4 percent, Shawano 3.9 percent and Waushara County was 4.6 percent.
Finding qualified workers has been a challenge for many area employers.
The City of New London Economic Development Committee has discussed this shortage of workers several times over the past year.
“Personally I wish the attendance by job seekers would have been a little higher, but the businesses attending were optimistic and thought they had some very qualified and employable candidates come through,” said Shaw.
The job fair committee marketing plan included TV, radio, newspaper and social media campaigns. The committee also reached out to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to send an email more than 14,000 registered job service users in a five-county area.
Dave Thiel, Executive Director of WCEDC said undoubtedly, the unemployment rate plays a part in the lower turnout.
The committee received positive feedback from both employers and job seekers.
“Several of the employers expressed their satisfaction with the venue and organization of the event,” said Thiel.
The highest number of job seekers attended the job fair during the final two hours. The event opened at 1 p.m. and lasted until 6 p.m.
“We altered the timeframe to accommodate people currently employed,” said Thiel. Several job seekers offered feedback and said they were glad it was open later so they could attend after work.
“If we do this in New London again next year, we will be looking for more effective ways to get the information out, and we may push the start and end times back further,” said Thiel.