March 4, 2020 — For the past five years, Three Rivers Casino Resort has brought together job seekers and opportunities for employment, education and volunteering with its free Community Career Fair. The next annual fair will be held Thursday, March 5, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Three Rivers’ event center, 5647 Highway 126.
“Our first year, we had 24 vendors,” said event organizer Pam Hickson, recruitment specialist for Three Rivers Casino Resort and the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians (CTCLUSI). “It’s really grown from there and taken on a life of its own.”
The event has evolved over time into a regional event, Hickson said. “And we’re rebranding this year as a career fair. It’s more than just employers.”
The Community Career Fair offers over 40 businesses looking to hire, employment opportunities including summer employment, community business connections and the resources needed for a great career choice.
Educational careers will also be represented, as well as Summit Salon Academy PDX, Lane Community College Florence Center, Linn-Benton Community College, Southwestern Oregon Community College’s culinary school and IITR Truck School. A full list of vendors is included on page 4C.
“There’s just a little bit of something for everyone,” Hickson said. “If someone is changing a career or looking at moving or starting a career, it’s a great opportunity to come to the fair. We also have volunteer opportunities.”
According to the State of Oregon Employment Department data, the unemployment rate in Oregon continues to trend downward.
“The unemployment rate has dropped to the lowest rate we’ve seen since the 1970s,” Hickson said. “You can’t just do passive recruiting anymore. You can’t just put a job on the website and expect people to apply online. You have to do more of an active role.”
Through her job, Hickson attends nearly a dozen job fairs each year.
“I thought, ‘You know what? There’s really nothing like that over here,’” she said.
Three Rivers supported her vision, and they planned the first fair for March 30, 2016.
“It all started because we wanted another avenue to be able to recruit, and we thought we would share the opportunity with some other folks to see if they were interested,” Hickson said.
Big partners in the event each year are WorkSource Lane, which has an office at 3180 Highway 101 in Florence, and Goodwill Job Connections, 1310 Highway 101.
“They are the first stop when you’re looking for a job here in the community, and regionally as well,” Hickson said. “I always encourage vendors to establish those relationships with Goodwill and our WorkSource employment department here in town. They do so much. I get a lot of my applicants through those two sources.”
Each year also sees a return of vendors, which allows for networking and sharing of resources.
“It’s not just for the Florence community,” Hickson said. “That’s of course where the bulk of our vendors come from, but there are also outside opportunities as well.”
All are welcome to the free event. Those seeking jobs can engage with resources offered through WorkSource and Goodwill Job Connections. Many will be able to apply on the spot through a bank of computers available for online applications and a table and pens for paper ones.
“We encourage people attending the event to come dressed to impress, and also bring some resumes to share with potential employers,” Hickson said. “It’s a chance to meet one on one and put yourself out there.”
She added, “The Community Career Fair is for job seekers of all ages, not just adults in the workforce. … The schools this year are on board. That wasn’t even a question.”
Three Rivers and CTLUSI are among those hiring in both Florence and Coos Bay.
“It’s nice to be able to use the resources we have to bring new talent, but also share that with our community,” Hickson said. “It really is in line with the Community Care Award we received at the Siuslaw Awards this year.”
Florence Area Chamber of Commerce annually holds the awards to recognize the contributions of businesses and individuals who support the Siuslaw region.
“That’s what it’s all about — it’s helping each other out,” Hickson said. “And we’re happy to give back. It’s just a win-win for everyone.”
Three Rivers will continue to plan for the event, with a date already set for the 2021 event.
“It’s great to have the vendors here, and it’s great to have the applicants coming in,” Hickson said. “We’re thrilled to have planned the career fair for the past five years, and look forward to a future of having these events.”
For more information, visit the Community Career Fair Facebook page or threeriverscasino.com.