Employers try to woo workers at Rutland job fair

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 6:05 PM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont labor officials are making a push to connect employers with job seekers in the southwestern part of the state, holding job fairs in Bennington and Rutland this week.

“I am really excited to get back in the field and work again,” said Alexis Walker, one of those to attend the Rutland job fair Thursday.

She began homeschooling her six-year-old daughter during the pandemic. With her daughter back in school, Walker started looking for a job about a month ago, but she says she needs flexible hours to take care of her daughter if she needs to quarantine. “There hasn’t really been many because of the flexibility, so that’s the rough part,” Walker said.

Wendy Morse, southwest regional manager for the Vermont Department of Labor, says in the past month there has been an uptick in people looking for work. The statewide unemployment rate is 3.0% and 3.6% in Rutland. “This was our first attempt at trying to pull job seekers and employers together and responding to the enormous amount of job openings that we have in Rutland and Bennington Counties,” she said.

Morse says most people are looking for part-time jobs that offer flexible hours around child care and prioritize a positive work-life balance. Because so many employers are looking for workers, Morse says they are offering more. “Sometimes it is higher wages, sometimes it is a lot more flexibility. We’ve worked with employers who have also developed jobs within their organization that are now fully remote, where they were never remote before,” Morse said. She says her department is also collecting data to see what employers and job seekers are looking for in order to make sure those needs are aligned.

Helen Lewis of Rutland retired a few years ago but she is looking for something part-time or seasonal for a little extra spending money to put toward home improvement projects. “This is my first step out to look for work so I don’t know how easy or difficult it will be, but fingers crossed,” she said.

Annette Rider is also looking for work. The Rutland woman says one employer is offering a housekeeping job with great hours -- which seems promising.

Reporter Olivia Lyons: Does it give you kind of hope?

Annette Rider: Hope, yeah. If you want to work, you’re going to find work.

The Department of Labor also hosts virtual job fairs every Thursday at 11 am.

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