By LAURA WEICK The Warwick Public Library, Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce and Warwick Beacon will host a series of virtual job fairs enabling employers and employees to make professional connections amid the pandemic. According to Wil
The Warwick Public Library, Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce and Warwick Beacon will host a series of virtual job fairs enabling employers and employees to make professional connections amid the pandemic.
According to Wil Gregersen, the library’s community services librarian, job fairs will be held virtually starting Sept. 29 and every Tuesday as long as employers are seeking employees beginning at 10 a.m. and running an hour. The hope is to have a single employer at each fair.
RI Temps Inc. will be presenting available positions in office, insurance and manufacturing at the Sept. 29 fair. The registration link can be found at www.warwicklibrary.org.
Employers will hold brief presentations on Zoom that explain their purpose and the positions they are looking to fill. Potential employees can ask employers questions and have informal screening interviews, according to Gregersen.
Lauren Slocum, president of the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, said that if an employer wishes to do job interviews during the fair, they can create a smaller Zoom room within a room as well.
“Ideally we’ll feature one employer a week if we find that we have those jobs and job seekers,” Slocum said. “We have the beautiful ability to add more [rooms] if needed.”
The Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce will help find employers looking to hire, while the Warwick Beacon will advertise employers weekly. The Chamber of Commerce has held job fairs before, but never virtually.
Gregersen explained that participants can meet local employers through a safe and interesting way through these job fairs. He argued that libraries are some of the last “public community gathering places,” and libraries need to continue this role regardless of circumstance.
“So I think generally the goal of the library is to figure out how we can partner with different groups in the community and help them meet their needs,” Gregersen said.
“You know, in this case, if we can partner with some employers who are looking for employees, to [have them] partner with people who are looking for work, and by forming that sort of linkage in that partnership, we can bring them together, then I think we're doing our job, one of our jobs as a library and as a community place. The library is kind of one of the last public places that exist so we take our role very seriously.”
In order to meet this role, Gregersen said the library wanted to make the job fair as accessible as possible for job seekers from all walks of life.
“Part of what we're doing is we're going to make a hybrid sort of thing,” Gregersen said. “And what that means is that people who have computers at home and WiFi and all that sort of stuff can sign up and join these job fairs. But for people who don't have that kind of technology we're going to set up laptops in our glass meeting rooms and allow them to come in, register for those and come in and be part of the presentation, too. And we do find in a library that there are plenty of folks who don't have home computers, who don't have Wi Fi access and so, you know, we want to make sure that we provide that for everybody as well make it as inclusive as possible.”
Slocum said she hopes the event will create connections across the community.
“I think that part of what we are all experiencing now is a disconnected feeling,” Slocum said. “The ability for someone to realize what's out there was hopeful that this will make opportunities for connections that otherwise wouldn't be there.”