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PCC’s biggest job fair returns for its 20th year connecting community to employment
Photos and Story by Abe Proctor
For two decades, the PCC Job Fair at the Cascade Campus has helped Portland-area job-seekers connect with living-wage jobs. An assortment of more than 100 area employers will be on hand when the Job Fair returns for its 20th consecutive year, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, April 25, in the Cascade Campus gym.
“Rents have gone up in Portland, but wages are going up too,” said Becky Washington, Career Services coordinator at the Cascade Campus. “Employers are competing for qualified candidates right now, and this is a great opportunity to meet them face-to-face.”
Oregon’s economy is indeed humming along, with an unemployment rate of 4.6 percent as of December 2016, the lowest in nearly two decades.
“The last time the unemployment rate was this low was in the year 2000,” said Christian Kaylor, an economist for the State of Oregon. “The biggest increase in job vacancies over the year occurred for job openings paying between $15 and $20 per hour, well above minimum wage.”
According to the Oregon Dept. of Employment, of the 50 largest U.S. cities, Portland enjoyed the fourth-largest growth in median household income from 2010 to 2015, rising by 19 percent. Only Seattle, San Francisco, and Austin, Tex. posted higher rates of growth.
A who’s who of Portland-area employers will be represented at this year’s Job Fair, including New Seasons Market, Comcast, Portland General Electric, and Wells Fargo – to name a few – as well as a host of local and regional nonprofits and government agencies.
While the Job Fair is open to everyone, it can be particularly useful for currently enrolled college students, said Washington. Students in nearly all of Portland Community College’s 80 professional/technical programs can find an employer at the Job Fair which is related to their degree or certificate, she said. Many Job Fair employers are offering internship opportunities, as well.“If you’re a student looking to put your degree to work, the Job Fair is for you,” Washington said.
One of the most appealing aspects of the Job Fair, from a job-seeker’s point of view, is the opportunity to meet with and speak to a number of employers in succession, according to Washington. This means a job-seeker is able to compare and contrast the compensation packages available from various employers and industries, and get an idea of how his or her qualifications measure up.
“The Job Fair places job-seekers face-to-face with employers from a wide range of industries in both the public and private sectors,” Washington said, “where they can learn about available openings, pay scales and benefits, and the amount of education needed to obtain a given position.”
The 2017 PCC Job Fair at Cascade Campus is sponsored by Pamplin Media.
“This is the best job fair in the city of Portland, for a number of reasons,” said Mark Curnell of Oregon/Idaho AAA Human Resources. “The support staff is outstanding, there is a high applicant flow … and it is well advertised – in fact, the promotion of the event is superb.”
Would-be employees are encouraged to “dress like you’re going to an interview,” Washington said. “We attract lots of job-seekers, so it’s also a good idea to show up early.”
“It’s no secret that the job market is hotter right now than it’s been in a long time,” Washington added. “People should try to give themselves every advantage they can.”
For more information, call (971) 722-5613.