Free event for job seekers Wednesday morning at Abbeville High
For the second year in a row, employers in the area have an opportunity to fill open positions with Vermilion Parish talent.
The Vermilion Parish Job Fair will open at 9 a.m. this Wednesday, April 19, at Abbeville High School. Job seekers will have four hours to meet with businesses from around the region. There is no charge for the event.
The event is being conducted by the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce, the Vermilion Economic Development Alliance (VEDA) and other partners.
“Last year was a major success,” VEDA Executive Director Anne Falgout said. “Because we hadn’t had a parish-wide job fair in Vermilion in over a decade, it created quite the hype.”
More than 700 people looking for jobs attended.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we had somewhere close to that this year,” Falgout said.
However, the amount of businesses may be a bit lower than a year ago because of various circumstances.
“People are still excited about putting locals back to work,” Falgout said, “but this year the situation has changed a bit. Businesses are telling us that they’re doing more with less – meaning they’re either not hiring, or can’t spare the time to attend the fair.
“Businesses like people in Vermilion are resilient, so we weren’t surprised to hear that they were adapting after the changes in the oil and gas industry and post flooding economies.”
Just as businesses have adapted, organizers of the job fair took suggestions last year and made a few changes to improve this year’s event.
“We received rave reviews last year about the event,” Falgout said. “The few issues that were addressed centered around logistics, all of which have been addressed for this year – we are providing a lunch to our employers after the event so we can have a proper debriefing with those involved, we’re making sure the school bells get turned off (it was a hilarious oversight last year) and we will have maintenance staff onsite all day to ensure our facilities stay clean and stocked.
“We want to keep our employers happy and coming back each year if their workforce needs are there.”
When the workforce needs are met, it is a great thing for economic development.
“In every survey and article published in our field, workforce availability ranks at the top in terms of importance,” Falgout said. “Everything from education to expansion probability revolves around employees. In smaller communities like ours, economic development goes one step further, too. We’re just as concerned with community-oriented initiatives as we are with assisting businesses. Getting our hard-working people back into stable job environments must be a priority if we want to sustain our parish’s economic success. A low unemployment rate means more money circulating in our communities, which translates to more services, better infrastructure and ultimately an improved quality of life for everyone.
“It’s my favorite project of the year because it brings the business community and our residents together in a meaningful way.”