The onset of the COVID-19 created a shift in employment causing record-high job losses across the nation. However, now that the world has returned to normal operations, employers have reported difficulty finding the workers they need to fill open positions.
According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, “North Carolina lost around 867,000 employed workers at the height of the COVID-19 recession, between February and April 2020. However, only a fraction of those who lost work looked for another job: the number of jobseekers in our state increased only 147,000 by May 2020.”
Centralina Workforce Development Board (WDB) and our NCWorks team worked together to help provide a solution to the labor shortage in the region. The team, consisting of NCWorks Centralina Project Director Kim Carpenter, NCWorks Career Center Leader-Stanly County Gus Vanegas and former Centralina WDB Business Service Leader (now Centralina Economic Development Specialist) Anna Lu Wilson, created the monthly Centralina Virtual Career Marketplace 29-hour hiring event, a nontraditional way for employers to meet and chat with job seekers during a designated timespan.
Anna Lu Wilson shared that, “The Centralina Virtual Career Marketplace is a great way for jobseekers to make connections with local employers. Hiring managers are online at each event which gives the jobseeker the opportunity to ask questions about employment before they apply for the position.”
The intent of the 29-hour virtual hiring event is to give employers an increased opportunity to obtain staff while simultaneously creating convenience and accessibility for job seekers to utilize employment services and resources available to them with the Centralina Virtual Career Marketplace tool. Centralina WDB and our NCWorks team believes that this tool meets people where they are and presents a positive and solution-driven way to eliminate obstacles that time and location may present to job seekers, as well as for employers.
The Centralina Virtual Career Marketplace 29-hour online hiring event is held on every fourth Wednesday beginning at 12 p.m. and running through the fourth Thursday at 5 p.m. As part of this event, job seekers can chat with employers from 12 – 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Thursdays. Job seekers can also upload their resume prior to the event and should be prepared to interview via TextChat or video call with employers during aforementioned times.
Local NCWorks Career Centers and their staff are ready to assist job seekers with registering for the event or aid in preparing for the hiring event. Job seekers and employers can get additional information and register at http://Centralina.EasyVirtualFair.com. For other workforce resources and opportunities, visit https://centralinaworks.com.
Written by: Vaquacious Queen Lundy, Centralina WDB Communication Coordinator