Job fair aims to attract, increase skilled workforce

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More than 50 companies already signed up for March 1 event

Times Herald Staff

Oconto Falls High School is hosting a job fair as part of an ongoing effort to attract and increase a skilled workforce for Oconto County business and industry.

The goal of the SkillsUSA Future Fair is to specialize in trade and vocational employment opportunities in Northeast Wisconsin for students and the community. The fair is scheduled for 1-6 p.m. March 1 at the school, 210 N. Farm Road, Oconto Falls.

“There continues to be a widening skills gap and dysfunctional relationship with trade and vocational employment opportunities,” according to the news release from the high school’s technology education department. “Currently, there is a significant increase in fulfilling employment opportunities in trade and manufacturing-related professions with the retirement of many skilled workers.”

The department has been meeting with the Oconto County Economic Development Corp. and Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance over the past year discussing the need for a skilled workforce. OFHS has partnered with Unlimited Services, a local business that employs many trade-related positions, to help develop a job fair.

More than 50 companies have already agreed to participate at the Oconto Falls High School Fieldhouse. The SkillsUSA Future Fair is open to OFHS students and parents as well as other area school districts and community members. At 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., the OFHS technology education instructors will provide brief tours of their facilities at the high school.

The businesses’ booths will showcase employment, co-op and internship opportunities so that attendees can see what well-paying and successful careers are being offered to the next generation of skilled workers.

“Our goal is to bring the companies, students and parents together,” the release stated. “Companies will highlight what their businesses have to offer. Today, many businesses have youth apprenticeships, co-ops, internships and job-shadowing programs. Some companies are offering tuition reimbursement when the employee is ready to further their education or skill level. So many times we send kids to college, but they don’t have a skill to fall back on when they come out of school and are unable to find a job.”

The companies invited to the March 1 event will demonstrate their equipment, offer product samples and have representatives ready to talk to the students and parents, some even providing interviews on the spot.