Oregon Tradeswomen’s 2018 Career Fair Wrap-Up
On May 18th and 19th, Oregon Tradeswomen held our 26th Annual Career Fair and it was one of our best years ever! This enormously impactful event, graciously hosted once again by the NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center, featured more than 100 companies and organizations representing the trades and other non-traditional career paths for women, and offered insights into the possibilities of a future in those careers to more than 2,300 students and adult career seekers.
To make the Career Fair more accessible and easier to navigate, Oregon Tradeswomen worked with event app developer Crowd Compass to create our very own application for the event. The application included an interactive map, a list of exhibitors, activity schedules, and a social feed for attendees to share about their experiences at Fair throughout the day.
Career Fair attendees were met with unique opportunities to not only talk to employers at exhibit tables, but also participate in hands-on activities and workshops. From using an excavator to pick up a tire with the Operating Engineers Local 701, to building a birdhouse with Skanska, the experiences offered at Oregon Tradeswomen’s Career Fair visibly stirred excitement about the construction trades among the participants.
The most raucous enthusiasm came from the middle and high school girls who attended the Career Fair on Friday May 18th, School Girls’ Day. With record attendance, 75 schools came from as far south as Roseburg and as far north as Castle Rock bringing more than 1,300 students! Many of these young women had never imagined a future in the trades for themselves, but after participating in workshops and talking to tradeswomen, they began to see that their interests aligned with some of the careers introduced to them at the Career Fair. The school girls were so moved by their experiences that we heard back from several schools. A teacher from Madras said,
“We’ve been taking students for the past 12+ years and it gets better each year.”
Even the whole Pendleton School District wrote back saying,
“[We] attended the recent Career Fair for the first time ever and had an absolutely amazing time. We brought 30+ middle school and high school students who positively glowed with excitement about the experience on the ride home and are already looking forward to next year. We loved the wide range of exhibits and activities and the staff and exhibitors were so inspiring.”
Usually, Friday’s School Girls’ Day outshines the Saturday crowd, but this year Saturday was nearly as busy as Friday with more than 1,000 people flowing in and out of the NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center to participate in hands-on activities and speak with representatives at their exhibit booths! A few of the students from Friday returned to the Career Fair on Saturday with their friends and families to show them the workshops and careers that sparked a genuine interest!
One of the crowd favorite, and overall inspirational elements of Oregon Tradeswomen’s annual Career Fair was the Tradeswomen Fashion Show where real women working in the trades and other nontraditional careers had their moment on stage and in the spotlight, to talk about what their job entails, how they came to be tradeswomen, and why they love the work they do.
Oregon Tradeswomen annual Career Fair is important because it is a place where women and girls can see other women who are successful in an industry where you don’t see very women. It was truly inspiring to see how many women of all ages discover that they, too, can pursue these careers. It all goes back to our favorite adage, “If you can see it, you can be it!”
What time will the fair begin?