December 2, 2021

Job fair scheduled next week at college

Logo provided by SUNY Cortland

Whether you’re looking for a career in engineering or retail, administration or medical care, you could find your next job at the Back2Work Job Fair.

The Cortland Works Career Center and its partners are hosting a free job fair from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the SUNY Cortland Park Center. The employers offer dozens of job openings in a range of industries — 40 businesses are registered to have tables at the event and meet with prospective job candidates.

“This will also help our local businesses and their staff, now that they’re all going to be reopening with COVID restrictions lifted,” said Amy Buggs, director of the Cayuga-Cortland Workforce Development Board. “They’ve been hurting because of the labor shortage — having to work at different or shorter hours — so we’re just trying to get people to begin thinking about what they could be doing, rather than waiting until everyone else is looking for work because their benefits ended.”

In previous years, the career center has worked with the Cortland Area Chamber of Commerce to host job fairs targeting specific job sectors on a monthly basis. Now, the county’s labor force has approximately 1,200 fewer workers than two years ago, reports the state Department of Labor, to 21,600 workers in April from 22,800 workers in April 2019.

“It’s important to have job fairs for our Cortland community right now, because I want people to begin thinking about what they’re going to do when their unemployment insurance benefits run out in September,” Buggs said.

“I can tell you our attitude is that this could be the perfect opportunity for an employee to look for their dream job,” said Bob Haight, president of the Cortland Area Chamber of Commerce.

A job that may have been out of reach two years ago, could be in reach, now.

“I’m telling candidates to apply for that job — make that reach — maybe you don’t have all of the qualifications, or all of the education, but you can get yourself an interview,” Haight said. “You deserve a job, and you can get your foot in the door and then work your tail off and possibly advance because you’re doing a good job.”

Employers are prepared to interview candidates at the job fair, expediting an application and interview process that could otherwise take weeks or months. Buggs suggested that job seekers dress for interviews.

People can register for the job fair at cayugacortlandworks.com to reduce waits, or they can sign in when they arrive.

Participating businesses aren’t the only ones in search of employees. Garry VanGorder, president of the Cortland County Business Development Corp./Industrial Development Agency, said his staff is also working with companies to determine where job openings are and how people can get involved.

“I have never seen a help wanted sign in front of Pall Corp.,” VanGorder said, but the company recently began searching for candidates for a number of openings.