Job fair banking on favorable labor market

Visalia EDC to host job fair Jan. 28 at Visalia Industrial Park as unemployment reaches pandemic low, yet companies are hiring to fill vacancies and new positions

VISALIA – The beginning of 2022 might mark the most favorable job market in several decades for local workers. Unemployment is lower than pre-pandemic levels. Wages and benefits are rising. Less people are looking for work. And more companies are looking to hire.

At least a dozen companies will be conveniently located in one place later this month for job seekers looking to capitalize on a rare labor market. The Visalia Economic Development Corporation (VEDC) will host a job fair from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28, at Proteus, 1440 N. Shirk. The job fair will be held outside in the parking lot of the Visalia Industrial Park to allow for social distancing. Computers will be available for attendees to use to complete job applications, and light refreshments will be available.

“The VEDC has held several job fairs over the years, and they have been successful and rewarding for the employers and employees,” VEDC chairperson Lisa Walsh said. “We are looking forward to seeing people connect and find opportunities that can literally change lives.”

Executive director Nancy Lockwood said the VEDC had strong turnout for its last job fair held at California Dairies, Inc. in January 2020 but skipped last January due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lockwood said the VEDC is banking on the fact many people who left the workforce during the pandemic are ready to go back to work since additional unemployment assistance from the state ran out at the beginning of September.

“This is an opportunity for them to come learn what is out there and what is available to fit their lifestyle and their family,” Lockwood said.

Only a few industry sectors are down in Tulare County from a year ago, such as wholesale trade, finance and insurance, education, healthcare, hotels, and local government, according to the Employment Development Department’s November Labor Market Report, the most recent available. Sectors on the upswing for adding positions are agriculture, construction, manufacturing, transportation, retail and arts, entertainment and recreation. Unemployment in Tulare County is currently at its lowest point since the pandemic began yet many businesses are needing to fill vacant positions or are hiring for new ones.

“This might also be a test to see if people truly don’t want to work or if they are waiting for more flexible options,” Lockwood said.

Employers are encouraged to sign up for space as early as possible. Employers and employees may contact Nancy Lockwood, executive director of the VEDC, at [email protected]; or Lisa Walsh, chairman of the VEDC board of directors, at [email protected]

The Visalia Economic Development Corporation is a nonprofit organization formed in 1996 to help businesses thrive and create jobs. Members support the work of the VEDC through annual dues, with additional financial support from the City of Visalia.

For more information about the VEDC, visit www.visaliaedc.com.

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