If you’re a job seeker and have ever visited a job fair you may know that these events, aimed at exposing individuals to hundreds of jobs over a short period of time, can be a little… lackluster. Often dominated by big corporations, job fairs can be a bit like a cattle call and, to say the least, not always the best use of time.
Well, prepare to have your expectations altered by the Bay Area Youth Entrepreneurship Program (BAYEP)!
BAYEP, who’s mission is to help young men of color build career pathways through job-readiness training programs, connects the Bay Area’s young people with with high-caliber companies that are poised to hire. They did just that the other week when they hosted their Career Pathway Summit at the Oakland Marriott City Center.
BAYEP’s Summit, in its second annual iteration, was unlike any other job fair. It was a highly produced event infused with “zones” that aided participants in honing the art of an interview and, eventually, landing a job. This job fair boasted resume workshops, computers and wifi for research, a tie & suit bar, motivational speakers, a DJ and celebrities all geared towards making the experience for youth informative and interactive as well as enjoyable and productive.
While rumor has it Marshawn Lynch stopped by, and MC Hammer also made an appearance, one thing for sure is that ICA Fund Good Jobs was on site to provide the small business contingent.
Upon arrival our team was joined by four of our companies – Reem’s California, Mr. Sparkle Window Washers, Impact HUB Oakland, and PiikUp – and quickly staked out a self-proclaimed “Small Business Zone” (right next to the Oakland A’s booth). These four companies complemented the 16 large enterprises that were hiring on the spot or conditionally at the Summit.
Working with BAYEP was a great opportunity: we wanted to raise awareness around the small business ecosystem that thrives in Oakland, and which we know so well, and, at the same time, build a real bridge between job seekers and the good jobs that our small businesses provide.
While our always-busy entrepreneurs were knee-deep in work, they recognized the real value that working with BAYEP brought. A true win-win for both the entrepreneurs and job-seekers, after several hours of bak-to-back interviews, the job fair yielded 550 total interviews, and 278 conditional offers and invitations for second interviews. ICA Fund Good Jobs companies committed to 11 second interviews and conditional offers, based on 34 interviews.
Representing a new partnership for our organization the BAYEP Summit was a huge success in our eyes and for our companies. By building on this new relationship we can more directly connect good jobs to those who need them most, a mission-result we can truly get behind.
Michelle Scott is Education Manager at ICA Fund Good Jobs.