More than 240 job seekers from around Central Jersey attended Greater Raritan’s Drive-Thru Job Fair conducted on Thursday, Oct. 15, at the Somerset Patriots’ TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater.
The free, first-time event was presented by the Somerset Patriots and the Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board, which supports and connects employers and job seekers in Hunterdon and Somerset counties.
The event attracted job seekers from Somerset and Hunterdon counties, as well as some from neighboring Union and Middlesex counties. Most of the attendees said that they have been looking for new jobs for months, without success. A few had part-time jobs but hoped they would find a lead at the event that could lead to full-time employment.
“Looking for a job can get a little discouraging,” said Caitlyn G., a Lambertville resident. “It’s nice that a local organization is recognizing the difficulties people are having, and connecting us to direct, local contacts. It’s giving me a perspective on local businesses that I didn’t have. And it’s giving me a little hope.”
The event was one of four Drive-Thru Job Fairs conducted on the same day and at the same time (10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 15) by Central Jersey Workforce Development Boards. The other Drive-Thur Job Fairs were in the Central Jersey region of Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties, and taken together, more than 1,200 job seekers drove through the four job fairs. The events’ regional strategy was to connect job seekers and employers, and neither employers nor job seekers paid to participate.
“Because of the pandemic, we are not able to host a traditional job fair. The Drive-Thru Job Fair gave us a way to safely distribute information about employment opportunities in a safe manner,” said Kevin Kurdziel,” director of Middlesex County’s Office of Career Development. “It was great to collaborate across county lines, and achieve a common goal.”
Each person who drove through the Greater Raritan event (as well as two job seekers who walked through!) received a packet with more than 100 pieces of information about job opportunities from nearly 80 companies in the two counties, along with additional flyers on career-related services in the area.
Employer-participants ranged from American Water and Amazon, to Hunterdon Healthcare, l’Oreal and Zanya Spa Salon in Lambertville. A PDF of the packet can be viewed and download here.
Attendees at the Greater Raritan event also got information on a state-funded manufacturing online course from Manpower. The agency is recruiting possible participants in this certification course for the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP).
“This has been great,” said David Koremba, the marketing manager for Manpower after he handed information on this and other Manpower openings. “The people I talked to are really motivated to find new opportunities, and it felt like we made many connections.”
The individual bags handed out to job seekers included the master list of employer- participants at each county event, and the career opportunities shared by employers are open for the next several weeks and more.
A limited number of employer bags can be picked up during weekday business hours at the Raritan Valley Community College Workforce Training Center in Branchburg, the Somerset County Administration Building on Grove Street in Somerville, and the Hunterdon County Administration Building on Main Street in Flemington. The Hunterdon County Library and the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey also took dozens of bags to distribute through their local branches.
Individuals or agencies who would like to get the remaining employer bags on a first-come, first-served basis, can contact Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board Director Paul Grzella at 908-203-6044 or at email@example.com.
The Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board oversees federally and state-funded career and employment services for businesses and residents in Hunterdon and Somerset counties. Weekly text alerts highlight career and job opportunities in Somerset and Hunterdon counties. Text “onestop” to 565-12 to sign up.