Oakland County Michigan Works has hosted two virtual career fairs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with roughly 30 employers at each one.

Oakland County Michigan Works has hosted two virtual career fairs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with roughly 30 employers at each one.

Photo by Jacob Herbert

Employers report success with online job fairs

Oakland County Michigan Works Association leads charge in putting people to work during COVID

By: Jacob Herbert | C&G Newspapers | Published January 26, 2021


OAKLAND COUNTY — The COVID-19 pandemic has left a lot of people without jobs. Whether it be furloughs or permanent layoffs, people in Oakland County and around the country are looking for work. Oakland County Michigan Works has stepped in to help.

With the partnership of Southfield and Oak Park, Michigan Works hosted two virtual, multi-industry career fairs over the past couple of months. The first was held in September and the second was Jan. 26.

The free events allow potential employees an opportunity to video chat with over 30 employers in a large range of industries. Large employers such as Beaumont Health, Kroger and Oakland County attended and filled multiple openings immediately.

“The Southfield and Oak Park business communities are eager to get back to business, and this virtual job fair creates an opportunity for our residents to discover new employment prospects close to home,” Rochelle Freeman, the business and economic development director for the city of Southfield, said in a press release. “We have assembled companies offering a range of employee opportunities for all skill levels. Many of the companies will be conducting interviews on the spot, as they are excited to hire.”

Oakland County Michigan Works Southfield Program Operation Coordinator Jeff Granat said the first virtual career fair was “outstanding.” He made mention that there was a large turnout, and employers were pleased with the event.

Potential employees have the opportunity to login to the event and load into a virtual booth of their choosing, where they wait to speak with an employer. The first career fair had both a morning and an afternoon session, with roughly 30 employers in attendance both times. The second virtual fair had just an afternoon session.

“When word got out that there was going to be a career fair, we filled the spots pretty quickly with employers,” Granat said. “There are opportunities available out there, so we want people to have hope and understand we worked to make sure that there were employers that were going to be there from a wide range of industries.”

Beaumont Health Director of Talent Acquisition Jennifer Mattucci attended the first event and said doing virtual interviews with prospective employees streamlined the hiring process.

“It was challenging at first, but we found in the end that the virtual interviews turned out to be a more efficient way to hire individuals quickly,” Mattucci said. “Interviewing job candidates virtually has worked out incredibly well. We will probably continue to conduct some interviews virtually well after this pandemic is over.”

Beaumont is currently hiring at all its locations, whether it be nursing, clinical, nonclinical and entry-level positions. They have raised their minimum wage rate to $15 per hour. Entry-level positions are available in environmental services, nutrition and patient transportation. Mattucci said Beaumont is also looking to fill patient-facing roles, including nursing assistants, phlebotomists, medical assistants, medical technicians and surgical technicians.

“We are always trying to support the communities we serve and want to make sure we share the great employment opportunities and benefits available at Beaumont,” Mattucci said. “Virtual career fairs are more important than ever during the pandemic. We have found that we can reach a large group of people in a fast, efficient and safe manner when we participate in these kinds of online hiring events.”

For any questions or assistance regarding a job search, email jgranat@cityofsouthfield.com or visit oakgov.com/workforce.