Center of attention: Events highlight workforce month

Suzie Miller
Suzie Miller

Phil Castle, The Business Times

A series of upcoming events at the Mesa County Workforce Center in Grand Junction will offer assistance to businesses looking for employees as well as people looking for jobs.

While the timing is especially good for retailers preparing for the upcoming holiday shopping season, the activities also come during what’s billed as Workforce Development Month in Colorado.

“We really try to do as much as we can this month,” said Suzie Miller, manager of business services at the Mesa County Workforce Center.

The culminating event will be Jobfest 2014, a job fair Miller hopes to involve at least 30 businesses.

Jobfest 2014 is set for Sept. 30 at the center, located at 519 29 1/2 Road. The job fair will be open to military veterans only between 8 and 9 a.m. The event will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

About 20 businesses already have committed to participating, but there’s still room — and time — for more businesses to register, Miller said.

In addition to retailers, businesses from the energy, food service, health care and transportation sectors will participate, she said. “It’s a really good cross section.”

Moreover, all of the companies will be actively recruiting to fill job openings, including seasonal and permanent positions.

Labor demand as measured by the number of job orders posted at the Mesa County Workforce Center continues to increase, Miller said. And that bodes well for people who’ll be looking for jobs at the fair, she added. “I think there are going to be some really good opportunities for job seekers.”

To better prepare job seekers for the fair, the Mesa County Workforce Center will join with the Western Colorado Human Resource Association to present what’s billed as a job fair boot camp at the center on Sept. 24. Local HR professionals will lead a series of 30-minute workshops on such topics as resumes, the job application process and what employers are looking for in applicants.

“I think that’s going to be a really important step to help people be as prepared as possible,” Miller said.

Each workshop at the job fair boot camp will offer a 20-minute presentation followed by a 10-minute question-and-answer period, Miller said.

Some of the HR professionals involved in the job fair boot camp also will be involved in the job fair itself and will offer their perspectives on how they evaluate potential new hires, Miller added.

In addition to the Jobfest and job fair boot camp, Workforce Development Month activities at the Mesa County Workforce Center also will include a free presentation on preventing discrimination in the workforce.

Miller said the center will join with the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce to host the event at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 16 at the center.

Francis McDonald, outreach and education coordinator for the Colorado Civil Rights Division of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies will cover the basics of employment discrimination along with the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees.

A luncheon event also scheduled for Sept. 16 at the center will recognize local employers who participated in a summer jobs program, Miller added.

To register for or obtain information about upcoming events at the Mesa County Workforce Center in Grand Junction, call 248-7560 or visit www.workforcecenter.mesacounty.us.