By: Elizabeth DiEmanuele
As Hamilton continues to grow, so does the demand on organizations and job seekers. Year-end results from Statistics Canada revealed an increase in Canada’s unemployment rate, however, the city of Hamilton showed improvement. Industry development and employment prospects in Hamilton are now comparable to Toronto, Niagara Falls, Waterloo, and other surrounding cities (Statistics Canada).
Connect to Careers, a partnership between McMaster University, Mohawk College, Redeemer University College, Workforce Planning Hamilton, and City of Hamilton, seeks to bridge the gap between local organizations and job seekers by giving them an opportunity to engage in quality, face-to-face networking.
“We are expecting 150 employers at the Connect to Careers Job Fair this year, with over one third from the Greater Hamilton Area,” says Gisela Oliveira, manager of Career and Employment at McMaster’s Student Success Centre. “The quality of the partnerships that our institutions have nurtured with local organizations over the past four years has generated many opportunities for our students, including full-time, summer, co-op, and/or internship opportunities.”
“We believe that broad partnerships and career development opportunities such as the Connect to Careers Job Fair are a pivotal part of our plan to connect our future ready students with exciting job prospects in the Hamilton community,” says Tim Fricker, director of Student Success Initiatives at Mohawk College. “As this fair continues to grow, so will the profile of the students at each of our great institutions and the exciting opportunities that exist in Hamilton.”
Partner institutions including McMaster University, Mohawk College and Redeemer University College are nurturing the kind of young person and the talents and skills needed to respond to today’s challenges. Bruce Wilson, director of Co-operative Education at Redeemer University College states, “Young people want to give back. We recognize that when the right place and time aligns with the right talent, we build deep roots and strong community. One key to growing the Hamilton region and continuing the success that we’re enjoying now is to combine career opportunities and difference-makers.”
Connect to Careers is more than just a job fair; it is also a space for job seekers to receive feedback and polish their professional portfolio and for employers to meet with candidates from the Greater Hamilton Area.
“We have three very strong post-secondary institutions in Hamilton that are recognized leaders both in Canada and globally in both research and in training students for the workforce,” shares Katrina McFadden, vice president of Corporate Administration and Human Resources at ArcelorMittal Dofasco, a gold sponsor and supporter of the fair for the last four years. “Connect to Careers is a unique opportunity for employers to get in front of students from three of Ontario’s top post-secondary institutions and for the region’s top employers to connect with candidates and learn about their expectations and what they feel is most important in a career.”
Judy Travis, executive director at Workforce Planning Hamilton says, “Understanding where the jobs are and what jobs are in demand is critical for our local labour market. Connect to Career creates a direct link for job seekers with job opportunities from across the region and supports employers in finding the right candidates. It is a win-win for the community.”
Local organizations that are hiring include ArcelorMittal Dofasco, Maljohn Company Ltd., McKeil Marine Ltd., Ancaster Mill, Felton Brushes Ltd., NLS Engineering, and Walters Group.
Connect to Careers also continues to open its venue to local non-profit organizations, such as Brain Injury Services and IEC of Hamilton, encouraging job seekers to share their skills and creativity, and give back to the city.
Job seekers are encouraged by employers to prepare in advance, look beyond a specific industry and keep an open mind in their job search.
McFadden shares, “While on the surface, some may see ArcelorMittal Dofasco as a steelmaker only, the truth is that our business requires a great number of highly skilled and professional employees to operate, ranging from engineers to researchers and accountants to sales professionals that work across our business units in our manufacturing facilities, our labs and our offices.”
Connect to Careers takes place on Thursday, February 2, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is open to students, alumni, and community members. Free shuttle buses will be available at McMaster University, Mohawk College, and Redeemer University College campuses and will run from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.