On August 25, 2020, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s Community College to Career program hosted a first-of-its-kind virtual career fair in partnership with Bay Area Council, Bay Area Community College Consortium and Ohlone College.
A free, equity-focused event that brought together 25 community colleges, universities, nonprofits and workforce boards, the Hire Together Virtual Career Fair connected 1,000 job seekers with employers for a two-hour, highly interactive session.
In light of the current economic challenges in our region and globally, our group wanted to host an event that spoke to the moment and was geared toward a diverse audience of job seekers – from college students to early career and career-change professionals.
The event was wildly popular with students and other job seekers at a time when the need for living wage employment is high. The number one priority of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s education portfolio is to expand economic opportunity and increase diversity in the STEM workforce. To achieve this goal, we knew we needed to have a career event that was equity forward – that was free, that featured companies offering living wage jobs across a wide variety of industries and occupations, and that brought in diverse planning partners, from community colleges and universities to workforce boards and nonprofits.
After presentations from 10 Silicon Valley companies, attendees joined breakout sessions with recruiters. In one room, a student trained in 3D modeling asked about ways to break into construction and another asked about how their experience in social science would be received in project management. Every participant had a different story, but by emphasizing transferable skills, the event was highly accessible to a wide range of job seekers.
This was a special event meeting the needs of a special time. Despite evacuation warnings and rolling blackouts, the enthusiasm of participants was high and the general tone optimistic. Our team looks forward to receiving the two-month progress report that will highlight the number of interviews and jobs that resulted.
With an eye towards creating even better events in the future, the overall results show that virtual job fairs are a superb solution, not only to COVID, but to link job seekers and employers at a time when schedules are tight and the labor market changes quickly. By creating a multi-stakeholder hub and carefully curated event, we served our partners and members companies from across the region.
September 3, 2020