The 2023 SAU-Tech Job and Career Fair went better than expected, members of the Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development learned last week during a regular meeting.
Karmen House, program coordinator for workforce training at SAU-Tech, told OPED members that participation in the job fair was up 60% from last year.
"We had a total of 211 participants that came out to the job fair," House said.
The first-ever SAU-Tech job fair was held in 2022. This year's event was moved to the newly-built Rocket Arena, and as a result, only 52 vendors were able to sign up, down slightly from the 70 that participated last year.
"It wasn't because we didn't have the same number of people wanting to come, it was just that we ran out of room," House said.
Local schools and the general public were invited to the job fair, where companies offering jobs ranging from factory work in the defense industry to nursing home caregiving pitched their businesses.
"People were hired," House said.
Next year's job fair is already in the works as well, she said. SAU-Tech is looking to partner with area colleges, like South Arkansas College in El Dorado, to hold a regional job fair.
"From the surveys, everybody seemed to enjoy the job fair," House said.
OPED Director James Lee Silliman said in April, when the 2023 job fair was held, that the job market in Camden is wide open, and events like the career fair are good to help spread the word about available work.
"This is good exposure for the companies and businesses that are looking for potential employees and it's good exposure for those potential employees to see what's available," he said in April. "We have jobs available and we need more people to fill those positions."