For the first time in its 26-year history, the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce annual business expo featured a job fair.
This year’s “Growing Upper Buck EXPOtential Career Fair & Biz Expo” included a chance to meet and apply for jobs with area businesses, including Doylestown Health, Penn Stainless and Perkiomen Valley Printing Inc.
The expo’s exhibit space had sold out at 40 vendors, chamber officials said.
“We’re excited about having the job fair component and providing a forum to connect businesses face-to-face with potential employees,” said Tara King, Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce executive director.
King said the career fair was in response to Upper Bucks employers’ repeated requests to have a way to meet job applicants in “their own backyards.”
The yearly March staple held at Bucks County Community College’s Perkasie Campus aimed to help connect employers with job applicants in a more casual, informal way.
“I think this expo and career fair is very exciting because it brings people together in a nonthreatening way and an informal environment,” said Rodney Altemose, executive director of the BCCC Perkasie Campus.
Seminars continued the employment theme with topics on understanding LinkedIn, how to create a resume and how to interview for a job.
Altemose said shifting the time to a later start and end – this year’s event was 3-7 p.m. – is better to attract high school students as well as those looking for work who already are employed.
After the event, King said job fair attendance was disappointing despite advertising the event addition well in advance.
The expo provided young people with a taste of the business community.
About 14 Pennridge High School student volunteers from the Future Business Leaders of America club attended, helping to set up exhibits and working at the registration table. They were encouraged by Brian Laiacona, business education teacher, to take advantage of the seminars to prepare their first resumes.
“I get to see how local businesses work because I haven’t had much experience with them,” said Kayla Yellen, 17, a junior from Telford.
The expo traditionally has been a business-to-business experience, also open to the public.
Pam Sawyer, an account executive with Comcast Spotlight, splits her time between offices in Allentown and North Wales. She said attending the event was a great way to have in-person time with clients and create warm prospect leads for new customers.
“It’s a much more welcoming networking opportunity,” she said.