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Lincoln hosts drive-through job fair

Posted at 6:32 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 15:04:07-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — The Lincoln partnership for Economic Development held a drive-through job fair for those unemployed during the coronavirus pandemic.

The drive-through fair took place at the Gateway Mall in Lincoln. People drove through and picked up a packet that had information on 52 companies without ever leaving the confines of their car. In order to advertise in the fair, the companies were required to have current job openings.

“Everybody who is distributing information is hiring today,” said Bryan Seck the director of workforce development at the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development. “We asked employers to only submit information if they’re hiring. Obviously we can’t do that with COVID so we wanted to come up with an idea that could give people information about jobs without contact. ”

Due to the pandemic, prospective employees are coming from all types of career backgrounds. Seck said it’s important that the hiring employers don’t count out an applicant because they perceive them to have too much experience for a position.

“This is a whole new job pool,” Seck said. “For years in Lincoln we’ve had too many jobs chasing too few people. This is the first time that we’ve had a lot of people who are coming in to different careers and we’ve talked with a lot of businesses to give people a shot even if they don’t have industry experience or are over-qualified. We want people to connect to careers.”

“If you’re good at what you do they’re going to recognize that because people need good employees so get in there, get started and then move your way up,” said Mark Wentz with ResCare Workforce Services.

The fair came at a time when people across the country are looking for jobs. According to the Nebraska Department of Labor, as of March 30, more than 44,000 are unemployed in Nebraska.

“This is a lot better because I know these companies are actually hiring,” said Isaac Regier, an Omaha-native and University of Nebraska student who was at the fair looking for a summer internship. Regier’s current student job at UNL is on hold during the pandemic.

“Looking online some of the listings don’t have posting dates so then you don’t know if they’re old listings because a lot of companies are on hiring freezes right now,” Regier said.

For job seekers the lack of interpersonal connections from this type of fair is tough. A lot of people rely on face to face meetings to get their foot in the door. Job fairs like these aren’t perfect, but it’s adapting with the times. The goal from this fair is to get job searchers in touch with employers.

“I find since I’m good at elevator pitches, I prefer that style. But right now it is not really possible so I love having an opportunity like this where I know all of these companies are hiring and find what works,” Regier said.

“I love to see people meeting face to face however we need to meet people where they are and we need to meet COVID where it is,” Seck said.

Seck said the 52 companies participating in the fair have hundreds of jobs open. The jobs available range from entry level positions to those with experience needed.

For a link to the open jobs, click here.

Watch reporter Phil Bergman’s story in the above video.