In what organizers hope will be an ever-expanding annual event, job seekers from Raton and the surrounding area have a chance next week to make personal contact with potential employers who will be represented at the inaugural Raton Community Resource and Job Fair.
Also scheduled to be represented at the event are organizations that offer education and job-seeking resources.
Organization of the job fair — scheduled for Wednesday in the lower level of the Raton Convention Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. — was led by SL Start and New Mexico Works. SL Start is a Santa Fe-based human service company that “creates and delivers employment programs for individuals facing barriers to employment,” according to its website. It provides services throughout the state to New Mexico Works, which contracts with the state Income Support Division, which is a part of the Human Services Department. New Mexico Works provides adults throughout New Mexico with the services “they need to get a job, develop a career, and become self-sufficient in today’s turbulent economy,” according to its website.
Several local government entities and economic development organizations partnered with SL Start and New Mexico Works to help organize the job fair. One of those entities is the Colfax Workforce Development Center operated by SER-Jobs for Progress. SER stands for service, education, and redevelopment.
Joe Rodman, the local representative at the Colfax Workforce Development Center in Raton, noted the local Professional Business Women’s organization used to put on a job fair years ago, but such an event has been absent from Raton for a while. He said next week’s job fair is designed to be a “new starting point” on which more participants can be added and the event can grow in years to come.
A total of 22 businesses and resource providers were scheduled to be represented at the job fair as of earlier this week. (See accompanying list of participants.)
Rodman encouraged job hunters to bring a résumé, something to write with and write on and to dress appropriately — in a manner acceptable for a job interview.
He said that while some of the government entities at the fair may not be currently hiring, they will be able to help people who may want to later apply for a position get familiar with the sometimes-unique government hiring process.
New Mexico Works has been conducting similar job fairs throughout the state and hopes that each one will become “more of a community thing,” according to the organization’s job developer, Jim Schumaker. He said the hope is that local organizations — many of which are participating in this year’s first job fair — will take ownership of the event in future years.
Schumaker said SL Start/New Mexico Works job fairs that have been done in other parts of the state have received a good response, in some cases drawing many more people than organizers expected.
“It’s a need that’s across the board,” he said, referring to job fairs where employers can “show off who they are” and job seekers can take advantage of the personal “one-on-one factor” of meeting an employer instead of just posting a résumé on a website.
In addition, people can make contact with resource providers at the job fair. In a letter to Rodman and others involved in the development of the job fair, Schumaker wrote, “This event is more than a job fair; it is also a resource event where those same individuals looking for a job can also find out what resources are available in the Raton area.” Those resources, he wrote, will help the job seekers gain the education skills and “other beneficial knowledge to help better prepare them to get a job.”
The following employers and employment/education resource providers are scheduled to participate in the May 15 job fair at the Raton Convention Center. The job fair is set for 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
New Mexico Works
City of Raton
Colfax Workforce Development Center
New Mexico Highlands University
Raton Chamber of Commerce
Miners’ Colfax Medical Center
New Mexico National Guard
Luna Community College
Mora Colfax Head Start
Raton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
Raton Public Schools
New Mexico Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Springer Correctional Center
Raton Family Support Services
Raton Professional Business Women
Raton Fire Department
Raton Police Department