The following article was published in The Source, the monthly newsletter available from one of Strengthening Stark's community partners: OhioMeansJobs Stark and Tuscarawas Counties.



OhioMeansJobs Stark County and Strengthening Stark once again ventured into the world of virtual career fairs as they partnered with the state branded virtual career fair.


OHZone to produce the Stark County OHZone Virtual Career Fair on March 18th.  

Seventeen area employers representing manufacturing, healthcare and service industries had the opportunity to meet virtually with 156 job seekers.  Of the 296 job seekers registered, 52% participated in the event and 215 chats were completed.  Aultman Health Foundation and Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital saw the most activity with 31 and 25 chats respectively.   


In follow-up job seeker and employer surveys, job seekers expressed their thoughts that the virtual event was easy to navigate and safe as opposed to an in-person event.  All the employers responding to the survey indicated that they would participate in a virtual career fair again if it were offered in their area.  They also liked the job seeker resume feature as they were able to identify candidates even for positions not advertised.  Most employers found the talent to be “qualified” for their targeted job openings.   


The following companies participated in the event:   Aultman Health Foundation – C&K Industrial Services – Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health – Custom Utilicom – Fresh Mark – Gregory Industries – Hendrickson International – Multi-County Juvenile Attention System – Cleveland Clinic Mercy Medical – Polymer Packaging – PSI Industrial Solutions – Shearer’s Foods – Seifert Technologies – Spectrum – Sun America – V&S Schuler Engineering Inc.USA Precast – 


“To create interest and prepare job seekers in advance of the virtual event, employers were given the opportunity to participate in an “Employer Spotlight Video Series” allowing them to share information about their company, position openings, and what types of skills they were looking for in a candidate.  The ten videos created were added to our YouTube page and a new one was released daily on Facebook starting two weeks prior to the event.  Videos were also added to the virtual lobby at the career fair.  The Employer Spotlight video for Seifert Technologies attracted the most views with over 560 views alone on Facebook,” stated Kristen Beckman, Business Services Manager for OhioMeansJobs Stark & Tuscarawas Counties.    


Teresa Lucarelli from C&K Industries who participated in the event stated, “the booth was easy to setup and the ability to reach out to candidates ahead of time was fantastic and a great way to generate interest.”


Stephen Fisher from Hendrickson shared that they hired two candidates for assembly positions who stated they heard about the position from OhioMeansJobs Stark County.  One of the candidates participated in the virtual event and Fisher felt that it ultimately resulted in her getting an interview.


“Our goal for this event was to connect prospective employees with the workforce needs of local companies and industries in a virtual format.  We were successful in achieving this goal,” said JoAnn Breedlove, Chief Operating Officer for the Workforce Initiative Association and OhioMeansJobs Stark & Tuscarawas Counties.  


“We appreciate our ongoing partnership with Strengthening Stark, as well as the support of the Greater Stark County Urban League, Goodwill Industries and the Stark County Community Action Agency who served as navigators in helping job seekers prepare for this event,” she added.


“We’re excited to connect 156 job seekers to 17 local employers. We are appreciative of the relationship we have with OhioMeansJobs Stark & Tuscarawas Counties and look forward to the impact that our concerted efforts create and how those efforts will benefit our employers and our residents,” said Aleisha Stout, Project Manager for Strengthening Stark.