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Fair Opportunity

Trades workers have chance to meet possible employers

Published: Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

JOLIET – Students and others looking for a job in the skilled trades or union trades are invited to Joliet Junior College’s Skilled Trades Career Fair from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Main Campus, 1215 Houbolt Road, Joliet. The fair will take place in the T-Concourse.

Since this is a career fair and not a job fair, all vendors have been chosen based on the targeted audience of skilled trade students and workers. Layton Cooper, JJC employer relations and internship coordinator, said attendees should dress professionally and bring their resumes.

“It’s never too early to network,” Cooper said. “It’s always good to know people. Get a business card, a name, a face and stay in contact with the employer. If you ever decided to apply for a position within that company, you’ll have a greater shot at getting an interview and getting a job.”

The career fair would also be a good way to find out what employers are in the area, and to get more information about each of the businesses.

More than 200 job seekers and 25 career vendors participated in the first Skilled Trades Career Fair in 2012.

“Students were very impressed with the employers that were there last year,” Cooper said.

Training students for jobs that are in demand and then connecting them with potential employers is a part of JJC’s strategic plan.

Last year, JJC’s Technical Department received a three-part $525,000 grant from the Labor Department. According to Peter Linden, dean of career and technical education, and Greg Pakieser, professor and technical department chair, the grant has been used for many things. JJC has upgraded its welding machines, remodeled the electrical and ventilation systems in the welding shop and installed two new Haas CNC milling machines. The department is also in the process of upgrading capabilities to offer in future robotics classes.

These upgrades have helped students prepare for the growing skilled trades workforce. The Skilled Trades Career Fair is just another way JJC has responded to the demands of the labor market.

“Students were very excited to see that once they are done with their schooling and graduate with their degree, there are a lot of opportunities out there for employment,” Cooper said.

Participating employers from the Skilled Trades Career Fair last year included: First Choice Temporary Service, Inc.; 3D Manufacturing Corp.; Always Precision, Inc.; Aux Sable Liquid Products, Inc.; Bimba Manufacturing Company; BP US Pipeline & Logistics; Caterpillar, Inc.; Chicago Tube & Iron; Clearwater Paper Corporation; Diageo, Flint Hills Resources; Fusion OEM; Hanson Material Service; Hendrickson Bumper and Trim; Hydro-Gear; Integrity Trade Services; ITW Body & Interiors/ITW Fuel Systems; Manufacturing Works, Versant Supply Chain; and Volt Workforce Solutions.

Cooper encourages students and alumni who plan to attend the fair to set up an appointment with the Career Services Center. At the appointment, students and alumni can get help with their resumes, find out what’s best to say to employers at the fair, and learn additional information about each of the businesses. Students and alumni can set up an appointment by emailing careers@jjc.edu or by calling 815-280-2756.

For information about the Skilled Trades Career Fair, visit www.jjc.edu/careers or email Cooper at lcooper@jjc.edu

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