WCC, Michigan Works! to host free virtual career fairs this month

Washtenaw Community College (WCC) and Michigan Works! Southeast are both hosting virtual career fairs this month that are free and open to the public. 

Michigan Works! is inviting middle school students, high school students, and adults who are a part of the Michigan Works! program to its virtual career exploration event, MiCareerQuest South, on April 22nd. This event will connect attendees to employers in health care, advanced manufacturing, and other areas, who can help guide attendees towards the skills needed to be successful in those fields. It will run similarly to an in-person career fair, aside from the large number of attendees expected to attend. 

“You’re limited by how many people you can have in a physical space,” says Shamar Herron, executive director of Michigan Works! Southeast. “By being able to do this virtually, we can open up this opportunity to not only people within our region, but someone in Pasadena, Calif., can watch this. The negative is that we don’t get to feel the energy that is in the building when you are bringing young people to an event like this.”

WCC's virtual career fair will take place on April 9th. The event will also run similarly to an in-person career fair, with available positions in industries including health care, retail, automotive, business, manufacturing, and more. 

“When you get online, stop and see each booth,” says Amanda Deacon, an advisor in the WCC Career Transitions department. “Talk to employers. Have a good conversation with them.  Introduce yourself. If you are in high school, tell employers what you are interested in. The employers are more than happy to have those conversations.”

Preparation for this event is encouraged through WCC’s virtual workshops on how to be successful at a virtual career fair, resume writing, interviewing, and more. 

Deacon says the current job market is strong, so there are a lot of opportunities for job seekers to find the right position for them at these events. 

“For a little while, the market did slow down quite a bit, but we are actually seeing a bounce back,” Deacon says. “The pandemic has taken a toll to a certain extent, but we are seeing increased job postings. We’re seeing a lot more employer engagements. Hiring never really stopped, but it did slow down. We’re starting to see things pick up a little bit now that the state is starting to open up.”

Both WCC and Michigan Works! staff will continue to hold virtual events in the future, but are eager to get back to in-person events once it is safe to do so. They are looking to implement hybrid in-person and virtual events as COVID-19 restrictions continue to lift. 

“We want to get back to safely having people work with us in a physical face-to-face event,” says Herron. “But we are not going to do that until it is safe.” 

To register for these upcoming fairs, visit Michigan Works! and the WCC Career Transitions department online.

Maria Patton is a lifelong Ypsilanti resident. She is currently a student at the University of Michigan, working towards a bachelor’s degree in communications and media. You can find more of her work in The Michigan Daily, where she is a columnist for the Michigan in Color section. She can be reached at pattonma@umich.edu.
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