The idea of hosting a job fair specifically for the homeless community began several years ago, but it wasn't until the summer of 2014 that the idea started to become a reality. Once the collaboration of organizations hosting the event was solidified, it became clear that everyone's main goal was for this to be a unique and impactful experience. We wanted this fair to be different than the average job fair. To start, a competition among staff determined the name of the event- Employ & Empower Job Fair... Keeping Austin Employed! The name has served as a significant reminder that the event is about helping folks feel empowered as well as providing an opportunity for individuals experiencing homelessness to connect with employers. Next, we wanted to create multiple opportunities for individuals interested in attending the fair to look, feel, and be prepared for interacting with employers. To help achieve this, we designed and offered job fair readiness workshops, day long resume rallies, and provided free haircuts and access to professional clothing at the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH). These "prep and pep" events helped set the Employ & Empower Job Fair apart from others and played a key role in preparing folks for the job fair.
On November 14, 2014, the first Employ & Empower Job Fair went off without a hitch. All of the job fair attendees came through the Trinity Center to check in and receive a folder with copies of their resumes in it. At check-in (and at other prep and pep events), basic demographics and stats were captured in a specialized database to aid us in future planning. After going through check-in, attendees were escorted into the gymnasium of St. David's Episcopal Church and this is where the magic happened. The looks of confidence and excitement on the faces of the job fair attendees and the positive connections being made with the employers made all of our hard work well worth it. We had successfully achieved our goal and immediately started talking about the next Employ & Empower Job Fair.
We're excited to be back and look forward to working together with the community to build a bigger and better event in 2015!
PS. Stay tuned to this website!
We will be constantly updating it with new info and additional dates and details.