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Area employers seeking to fill more than 2,000 available jobs will be on hand this week at the Hiring Expo. The event will be open to anyone looking for their next career opportunity on Thursday, March 16 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the Bristol Motor Speedway South Building.
The event, sponsored by the Bristol Tennessee Industrial Development Board and NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership, will be the seventh such effort since the Hiring Expo first began in 2016. It will also be the first expo since COVID-19, which also paused most large-scale gatherings, drastically changed the employment landscape.
Economic Development Director Tom Anderson states that the need for an event like this is greater than ever. "We’re in a situation now where our employers are up against a mix of economic factors, many of them driven by the pandemic, that have created a massive demand for labor at a time when the numbers of people participating in the workforce or actively seeking employment are at historic lows. That drives a ripple of those same conditions across virtually every sector – manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality, public service – no industry is immune.” He added, “In the same way that the Hiring Expo was initially born in response to the needs of our local employers, we’re bringing it back now as a means to try and provide some degree of relief for our businesses.”
The opportunity for face-to-face interaction between employers and potential candidates sets events like the Hiring Expo apart in a world where most hiring processes now start with an online application or just a text message. While the process may still end up with submitting some paperwork electronically, this format gives both job seekers and hiring professionals alike the opportunity to ask questions and make a strong first impression, hopefully shortening the time to hire and resulting in higher quality matches. Many employers are even able to make offers on the spot if they find the right candidate. “Individuals who are eager and willing to work, especially those with specialized skills or certifications, are in high demand and have a major advantage in the current job market,” said Anderson. “Even someone who’s already working but who is perhaps at a point where they’re looking to advance their career or simply make a change can benefit from attending this event and the connections they can make.”
In addition to employers filling open positions, representatives from area higher education institutions will be on hand with information about programs in high-demand areas as well as available scholarship opportunities. Representatives from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development American Job Center will also have information regarding the employment and training services they offer. There is no cost for job seekers to attend and no pre-registration is required. Individuals needing transportation assistance may take advantage of a free shuttle to and from the event that will operate throughout the day between the South Building and the transit station at the Downtown Center. For more information, including a full list of the employers expected to be in attendance, visit bristoltn.org/hiringexpo. The Hiring Expo is made possible through partnership with Bristol Motor Speedway and Bristol Tennessee Essential Services, along with media sponsor Holston Valley Broadcasting.