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.
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