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A total of 73 different companies and organizations set up tables to meet with job seekers.

Career Fair Draws 150 Job Seekers to Taconic High School

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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Attendance at the longstanding annual event tends to ebb and flow based on the labor market trends at the time.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Some 150 or so job seekers made their way to the newly built Taconic High School on Wednesday for 1Berkshire's annual career fair.
 
The event drew 73 exhibitors to talk about jobs they have available, or services they offer job seekers, including BerkshireJobs.com, an affiliate of iBerkshires.
 
According to Benjamin Lamb, economic development director for 1Berkshires, it is the most exhibitors the organization has had at the annual fair.
 
"There are a lot of manufacturing jobs out there right now. It is a growing sector. It is a sector that needs workforce. We are also seeing a lot in the banking side of things. I think there are four banks here and they all have positions to apply for," Lamb said. 
 
"Otherwise it is a broad spectrum. It is a lot of those positions that are entry level to mid-level and then you have a smattering of upper echelon kind of positions. It is a pretty good spread, which is why we tell everybody and everyone to come to the career fair."
 
Currently, the unemployment rate is low, which hindered the number of job seekers attending the fair. In recent years the career fair drew somewhere between 300 and 400 people. Lamb said attendance at job fairs are heavily dependent on what the labor market is doing.
 
According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, the unemployment rate for the month of February — the most recent available — was 4.3 percent in Berkshire County and 3.2 percent statewide. A decade ago, during the recession, the job fair attracted more than 400 people while the February 2009 unemployment rate was 8.2 in Berkshire County and 7.9 statewide.
 
However, Lamb said the organization continues to put it on to help expose those currently employed to see what type of career growth opportunities exist.
 
"You never know what is out there unless you are looking. This is one of the opportunities to be looking. Even if you are gainfully employed, you have a decent job, it is an opportunity to see what is out there and what career ladder may exist," Lamb said.
 
Lamb particularly noted a number of jobs available paying more than $40,000 a year, a focus 1Berkshire has had with its own job posting service "the jobs thing" on its website.
 
The fair has traditionally been held at Berkshire Hills Country Club and then moved to Berkshire Community College when it outgrew the space. This year, 1Berkshire brought it to the newly construction comprehensive high school in a new partnership with the Pittsfield Public Schools.
 
"We get to use the new Taconic High, which is one of the exciting parts this year," Lamb said.
 
Lamb said this year the partnership with BCC is continuing and the college ran a shuttle bus throughout the day from campus to Taconic. 
 
"This year it is us, Berkshire Community College, and Pittsfield Public Schools that are the partners bringing this together," Lamb said.
 
Beyond just available jobs, services showing off job postings, others taking professional headshots and yet others critiquing resumes were on hand to help job seekers.

Tags: employment,   job fair,   

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PCTV Documentary Finds Pittsfield Parade Dates Back to 1801

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Community Television's recently released documentary "Fighting For Independence:  The History of the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade" has traced the first Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade back to at least 1801.  

An article in the Pittsfield Sun from July 7, 1801, says that "at 12:00 o’ clock at noon a Procession was formed consisting of the Militia of the town."

Previously the Pittsfield Parade Committee acknowledged that the parade dated back to 1824.

"This was a fascinating discovery, as we researched to put this documentary together," said Bob Heck, PCTV’s coordinator of advancement and community production and executive producer of the program.  "Not only were we able to trace the parade back further than ever before, but to see how the parade has impacted Pittsfield, and how the community always seems to come together to make sure the parade happens is remarkable."

The Pittsfield Fourth of July parade experienced bumps in the road even back in the early 1800s - most notably, when Captain Joseph Merrick, a Federalist, excluded Democrats from the yearly post-parade gathering at his tavern in 1808.

The parade ran concurrently from at least 1801 until 1820. In 1821, Pittsfield’s spiritual leader Dr. Rev. Heman Humphrey, canceled the festivities so the day could be dedicated to God before resuming in 1822 after residents decided they wanted their parade.

"Fighting for Independence: The History of the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade" premiered July 4 at 9:30 am on PCTV Access Pittsfield Channel 1301 and PCTV Select.  The program is available on-demand on PCTV Select, available on Roku and Apple TV, or online.

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