On Friday, November 14, Austin Free-Net co-sponsored the first Employ & Empower Job Fair for homeless Austinites and it was a huge success! Motivated by the theme “Keepin’ Austin Employed,” more than 80 individuals pre-registered for the Job Fair at orientation sessions and professional resume labs leading up to the event. More than half the registrants participated in the resume labs led by staff and volunteers. As a bonus, registrants were given a business folder with printed copies of their resumes at the Job Fair.
Thanks to the efforts of all involved with this event, participants, such as David (shown in photo) came to the Job Fair prepared to find a job. David recently moved to Austin from Dallas without a job or place to live. He learned about the Job Fair after his first week at the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH). Emily Plunkett, AFN’s Program Specialist at the ARCH and co-coordinator of the Job Fair made sure that David attended the event.
“Many of our students at the ARCH are coming to learn basic computer skills, so that they can look for work online. There is definitely a misconception that people experiencing homelessness do not want to be employed,” said Emily. “I know from working with students, that if we help people discover their skills and help them create a professional resume using our computer resources, they will find a job.”
Among the total of people that attended the Employ & Empower Job Fair, 49% of the attendees said that they have been looking for employment for longer than 16.9 weeks. 46% of the registered job fair attendees were also over the age of 50. The top three industries attendees were seeking employment included, accommodations and food services, retail and construction.
Looking to fill positions ranging from customer service representatives to grocery managers, twelve employers from public and private companies came to the Job Fair. We would like to thank the following companies for attending: Nexxlink of Texas, White Lodging, Capital Area Food Bank, City of Austin, Concentrix, Randalls, Goodwill Central Texas, Travis County, Goodwill Staffing Group, Interactions, Whataburger and Wash Cycle Laundry.
AFN would also like to thank the staff and volunteers from the four other non-profit organizations that worked together to organize the Employ and Empower Job Fair: Front Steps, Back on My Feet, Goodwill Central Texas and Trinity Center.
Successful employment news about the Job Fair is starting to trickle in. A week after the Job Fair, David contacted our Trainer to let us know that he was offered a job. Many of the participants also created an email address so that Trainers and Case managers can offer future job search guidance.