RUTLAND —Nick Guastamachio didn’t know which employers were going to be at May Job Fest: Rutland, but after learning about the event, he decided to check it out. Having recently applied for a few customer service positions, Guastamachio took advantage of the job fair to explore and reconnect.
“I’ve been trying to find work and had a few interviews at different places, but I haven’t had much luck getting hired yet,” Guastamachio said. “[The job fair] gave me the opportunity to see a few employers I interviewed or filled out an application with and just didn’t get a response from.
Guastamachio said he also discovered opportunities with other employers, including Rutland Regional Medical Center.
“I kind of thought that as someone who doesn’t have a college degree, there wouldn’t be a lot of opportunities for me. But after talking to them, I discovered that there were actually several opportunities and there could be potential.
Guastamachio was among nearly 200 job seekers who took part in Tuesday’s May Job Fest: Rutland. The job fair, hosted by the Vermont Department of Labor, was held outdoors at Depot Park in downtown Rutland.
More than 55 local employers attended the job fair, seeking to showcase their job vacancies. In addition to Rutland Regional Medical Center, the Vermont Department of Corrections, Hubbardton Forge, Bayada and General Electric were among those who participated. Although there was a range of positions to recruit – from part-time or entry-level help to those more experienced and leadership roles – there was a common theme among employers: getting back into the community is important for recruitment.
“We just love being back doing things, having been slowed down for the past two years,” said Brad McCormick of the Vermont Department of Corrections. “It’s just nice to talk to people and interact with everyone who comes to the table.”
“A lot of people don’t know what corrections is…So if they can come to the table, talk with us, and see a real person doing the work…they get a fresh look at what’s going on. is the correctional system.”
A group of nearly 30 students from Stafford Technical Center in Rutland joined job seekers and employers at Tuesday’s event. Although their interests varied between various programs and professions, the instructors say that these events provide students with a great opportunity to learn for the future.
“It’s important for schools to get kids on a bus and out,” said Cristina Kumka, an instructor at the Stafford Technical Center. “We try to give them a helping hand towards a career. If you let the students look for a job on their own, sometimes they don’t, because they’re behind a cell phone or a computer.
“We told students on the bus that a simple handshake, being nice and showing an employer a face can make them remember you for the future. That part has been lost for the past two years, and I think we’re trying to bring it back. Nothing replaces direct contact when it comes to an employer and a job seeker.
Sebastian Lennon, a metal fabrication and welding student, agreed and expressed the importance of these events for the students.
“I think things like this job fair really help kids get out there and start exploring opportunities and thinking about the future.”
The Vermont Department of Labor, in partnership in Rutland with Catamount Radio, will host two more May Job Fest events in the coming weeks. The next stop on the schedule will be May Job Fest: Middlebury (Thursday 5/19 at Middlebury Rec Park in Middlebury), followed by May Job Fest: Bennington (Tuesday 5/24 at Deer Park in Bennington).
“With the need we know employers have, coordinated efforts like these career fairs and other hiring events are crucial,” said Commissioner Michael Harrington. “These events continue to draw attention to the fact that employers in our state need workers, and we must do everything we can to provide opportunities, like this, for connections to happen.”
Complete details on how to register for upcoming job fairs and hiring events, both as a job seeker and as an employer, can be found at Labor.Vermont.gov/ Jobs.
Upcoming career fairs hosted by or in partnership with the Ministry of Labor include:
River Valley Employment Fair (with members of the River Valley Workforce Innovation Board)
Date: Wednesday, May 11 Location: Riverside Middle School, 13 Fairground Road (Springfield) Time: 3-6 p.m. https://www.rivervalleyemploymentfair.org/
May Job Fest: Middlebury (with Middlebury Parks & Recreation and Addison County Workforce Alliance)
Date: Thursday, May 19 Location: Middlebury Rec Park, 154 Creek Road (Middlebury) Time: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. https://labor.vermont.gov/event/may-job-fest-middlebury
May Job Fest: Bennington (with HireAbility and the South West Regional Chamber of Commerce)
Date: Tuesday, May 24 Location: Deer Park, 353 North Street (Bennington) Time: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. https://labor.vermont.gov/event/may-job-fest-bennington
Central Vermont Job Fair (with Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation)
Date: Wednesday, June 1 Venue: Barre City Auditorium, 16 Auditorium Hill (Barre) Time: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. https://centralvtjobfair.com/
All of the above events are free for job seekers, and all are encouraged to attend. To pre-register, please click on the links above or contact your local Ministry of Labor Workforce Development Team by calling 802-828-4394. Employers interested in participating in these and other recruiting and hiring events are also encouraged to contact the Department.