Job Fair Looks to Keep Young People in Connecticut

The following originally appeared in the Connecticut Post on June 10, 2016. To view the original article, please click here

by Keila Torres Ocasio

Recruit CT FINAL LOGODressed in their best business attire, hundreds of recent college graduates spent Friday handing out their resumes and trying to leave a lasting impression at the second annual RecruitCT career fair.

Held at the Trumbull Marriott, event sponsors expected to attract more than 600 job seekers — with roughly 200 showing up within the first hour — looking to fill the hundreds of jobs available at the more than 50 different companies and organizations represented.

“I came here today to see what type of opportunities were open,” said Ariel Erazo, 21, from Norwalk. “I feel like they have a wide variety of companies here.”

Like his friends, Alex Peterson, 22, of Trumbull, and Brandon Chaparro, 22, of Norwalk, Erazo was looking for a job in the financial industry. The three recent college graduates, who all studied out of state, said they weren’t tied down to a specific location, but wouldn’t mind staying in Connecticut.

Peterson, who has been applying to jobs in Boston, said Friday’s event appeared to be a great place to find that in-state job because of the variety of companies present.

UntitledThat’s exactly what David Lewis, event chair of RecruitCT, along with the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, hoped to accomplish with the career fair.

In 2014, the U.S. census estimated 7,709 people between the ages of 18 and 24, and 889 between 25 and 34, left the state. Most of those individuals had some form of higher education.

“Our hope is that within a few weeks we get evidence that a lot of the people walking around will end up as employees,” Lewis said.

Lewis, owner of Norwalk-based OperationsInc., knows the odds are good some jobs will be filled. More than 90 percent of employers surveyed after last year’s event said they would likely hire a candidate they met at RecruitCT.

Lewis himself hired Lauren Wachnicki, 22, after last year’s event and the Norwalk resident has already been promoted from his assistant to a position in the marketing department.

The fair “gave me huge exposure to different companies,” Wachnicki said.

Employers also said they were grateful for the fair. In less than two hours, Shaune Rogers, human resources recruiter for the Stratford-based Sikorsky Credit Union, said he had met five potential candidates, two of whom he planned to schedule for interviews.

The credit union was looking for positions in IT, tellers and call center representatives.

Sarah Binderberger, senior recruiter and development manager at The McIntyre Group, in Norwalk, said she also had met several potential candidates, not all of them young professionals.

“It’s a mixed bag,” she said. “There’s a good amount of college graduates but I’m seeing five to 10 years of experience, too.”

Loretta Fedrick, 42, was both a college graduate of Albertus Magnus College in New Haven and someone with years of work experience. She was looking for a position that would allow her to use her degree in business management.

Fedrick, who lives in Naugatuck, said the RecruitCT fair was the third she had been to this year. “The last one I went to didn’t have as many companies,” she said. “So here I’m able to sell myself a little bit, distribute my resume and network a little.”