BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — The McLean County Chamber of Commerce on Thursday afternoon held a job fair outside Eastland Mall to connect job seekers with opportunities.
Charlie Moore, CEO of McLean County Chamber of Commerce, said there were more than 60 employers looking to fill about 1,400 jobs.
“It’s an opportunity for us to make connections… people who are looking for a job, people looking for people to work, as we come back in a post-COVID recovery time,” he said.
This time last year, the Illinois unemployment rate was 12%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Now, the unemployment has been cut almost in half to 7.1%, but employers said they are still having a hard time filling positions.
Emilia Leeney, HR assistant at Westminster Village, said hiring has been a challenge for the continuing care retirement community, and that the job fair is helping them find potential employees.
“Finding applicants has been a bit challenging…We’ve had a lot of good interest so far today and quite a few positions to fill and hoping to come with some new hires today,” Leeney said.
Job seeker Vanessa Schraufnagel said she has been looking for an administrative role since March, and came to the job fair prepared.
“I had a plan in place where I met people that I wanted to, then people stopped me, got other reviews and enjoyed talking to new people and making those connections… I enjoy the one-on-one feel,” she said.
Moore said the job fair is vital to getting McLean County back on track.
“It’s a opportunity to really make that intentional connection of people looking for jobs and our employers, because that’s how we’re going to rebuild our economy and get people back to work,” he said.
According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, approximately 410,000 people have returned to the workforce across the state since this time last year.