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Lessons Learned and Looking Forward

Thank you for participating and supporting the Jefferson County Economic Development Consortium (JCEDC) 2016 Area Job Fair & Business Expo on May 11th. Throughout the day, approximately 150 job seekers attended the job fair. We wanted to share with you some of the preparation that went in to the fair, as well as some of our thoughts about improving the event going forward.

The area’s investment and support in the fair went directly towards marketing activities to attract job seekers. At registration job seekers indicated that they heard about the fair from multiple sources. We marketed and promoted the job fair through a variety of channels. Here are a few of the highlights:

• About 31,000 emails were sent to job seekers by the Department of Workforce Development

• 36,731 people/impressions were reached through organic and paid Facebook engagements

• 139,113 LinkedIn impressions

• 8 print advertisements in local papers

• Staff promotion on 940 WFAW’s Morning Magazine

• 200 flyers posted on community boards throughout the area

• Area Chambers of Commerce and other community partners shared and promoted the job fair on their websites, social media and electronic newsletters

This event was the first ever job fair of the JCEDC, and we came away with some lessons and ideas for next year.

We selected the Creamery Building in Fort Atkinson because of the amount of open space available. In addition, the space is a unique one and a major anchor in downtown Fort Atkinson, and we wanted to help promote the space, as it currently is looking for tenants. If you are interested in learning more about the Creamery Building, please click here to see the enclosed flyer. Other locations we considered did not have room to accommodate 50 booths, have adequate parking or meet other essential needs. Overall we believe the location met our needs, but we recognize the lack of WiFi and electric did pose a challenge for some of you.

As several supporters commented, attendance dropped off significantly after 4:00 p.m. Because of this, next year’s job fair will run for a shorter period of time. In addition, we recognize that we need to improve our outreach efforts to high school students in order to maximize their attendance. Next year’s job fair will also be held earlier in the year in order to avoid final exams, ACT testing and other end of school year activities. Next year we also aim to better attract MATC, Maranatha University, and U-W Whitewater students. Finally, several of you shared there are industry-specific networks that we could tap in to in helping us get the word out to both employers and job seekers (i.e. healthcare). We look forward to working with you on accessing these groups.

In addition to the job fair, the JCEDC is working on other programs designed to assist area employers as they continue to try to attract the best talent. Currently, the JCEDC is pursuing an EDA grant to conduct a laborshed analysis. The objectives of this laborshed study will be to better match up the skills gaps of employers and employees to workforce training programs in the region. Specifically this study will aim to:

• Understand skills, education, and commuting patterns of area workers

• Understand local employer’s viewpoints and needs regarding the existing work force, including availability, quality, costs, and training needs

• Determine ways to better attract/retain businesses that can utilize this important labor information and to train their employees

We believe that an area job fair is important to have as we continue to try to connect businesses seeking to fill internships, apprenticeships, entry-level or professional-grade positions. We look forward to planning next year’s job fair and incorporating the feedback we’ve received so that our next event is a success. Thank you again, both for your participation in this year’s job fair and for your feedback. We look forward to partnering with you again.

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