Eastern Connecticut chamber sponsors job fair Wednesday

At least 24 companies will be participating in a job fair Wednesday at the Norwich Holiday Inn.

The event, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board and the state Department of Labor in cooperation with U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"There will be lots of opportunities to mingle and network," said Tony Sheridan, chief executive of the local Chamber. "It's just an old-fashioned job fair."

This is the first job fair sponsored by the Chamber, but Sheridan said it might turn into a regular event.

"We need to help the employer and employee get together," he said. "That's something we can do."

While employment numbers have been dropping locally in recent months, there is no shortage of jobs. But employment experts cite a jobs mismatch because the skills being sought by companies often are not those that have been acquired by the workforce.

This skills mismatch is one of the problems that is addressed in Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's package of education reforms. The idea is to educate more students in fields that will lead to the likelihood of productive employment, especially in science and technology fields.

Several of the companies attending the job fair are hoping to take advantage of Connecticut's STEP-UP program, which allows them to get state funding to help train new employees. Others are seeking to hire veterans who are eligible for another state program.

"A lot of potential employees don't know exactly what they want to do," Sheridan said. "This gives them the opportunity to think about options."

Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Electric Boat, Day Kimball Hospital, U.S. Foods, Thames Valley Council for Community Action and Hall Radio are among the companies or organizations that plan to attend the job fair.

"There is clearly an interest (in the job fair) on companies' behalf," said Sheridan, who expected the number of firms attending to approach 30 by this week.

Sheridan said Rep. Courtney plans to attend the job fair, and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal has been invited. For information, call (860) 701-9113.

l.howard@theday.com

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