3rd Annual Job Fair Draws Record Participation

During the morning session of this year's "Better Skills, Better Jobs Fair," Pitt County high school juniors and seniors gathered information on area employment needs and learned about opportunities for getting a jump-start on higher education before they finish high school.

GREENVILLE—Organizers of the “3rd Annual Better Skills, Better Jobs Fair” say the event was a tremendous success after it drew record participation from jobseekers, high school students, and representatives from area employers and community workforce development partners.

The Oct. 5 fair saw 782 adult jobseekers and 353 Pitt County high school juniors and seniors come by the Greenville Convention Center to connect with representatives from more than 120 businesses and industries wanting to hire them and community partners ready to help them prepare for the workplace.

Ernis Lee, assistant vice president of Outreach/Community Engagement at Pitt Community College, said the high school students who attended the fair’s morning session received job information and details on how they could begin working toward a college degree while still in high school, through such programs as Career & College Promise and the PCC-Pitt County Schools Technical Academy. He said many of the adult jobseekers who came out for the afternoon session were able to interview with local employers during the event.

“We had outstanding participation from employers, jobseekers, high school students and workforce development organizations,” Lee said. “It was a great opportunity for attendees to learn about the training and skills that area employers are seeking and for PCC and other workforce development entities to increase awareness of the programs and services they offer to help people secure the jobs in which they are interested.”

David Horn, Greenville ENC Alliance Director of Strategic Partnerships, said the fair is a perfect example of what can be accomplished when leaders from local government, economic development, workforce resources, education and business work together. In addition to PCC and Greenville ENC Alliance, the event was sponsored by the John M. Belk Endowment, Pitt County Economic Development, Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce, Inner Banks Media, and Koinonia Community Solutions.

“This event is the greatest example of collaboration and partnership that you will likely ever see,” Horn said. “… This is truly a community and region that values success over gaining credit for success. (We’ll) do whatever it takes to produce good results, improve the lives of our citizens, and help our businesses and industries grow and thrive.”

PCC President Lawrence Rouse helped kick off this year’s fair. He spoke to approximately 300 dignitaries, employers and community resource representatives during a breakfast program that took place prior to the convention center doors opening. Rouse said the “Better Skills, Better Jobs Fair” has proven to be an effective means of letting people who already have jobs know how additional education can help them improve their circumstances.

“When we developed the phrase ‘better skills, better jobs,’ we weren’t just talking about people acquiring skills to get new jobs; we were also talking about individuals in the local workforce who are underemployed and could skill up, retool or retrain — either to advance in their current careers or to change careers entirely,” he said.

Dr. Angie Jenkins, myFutureNC’s regional impact manager for North Carolina’s northeast region, was the breakfast kickoff’s keynote speaker. She spoke to attendees about the impact they have in developing the state’s current and future talent pipelines.

Based on the success of each of the previous three events, Horn says the “Better Skills, Better Jobs Fair” will return in 2024.

“Yes, there is a commitment from the Greenville ENC Alliance and all the partners to continue the ‘Better Skills, Better Jobs Fair,’ and the motivation is there to once again bring the resources to the table to make it happen,” he said. “… (The fair) has developed a bit of a brand and we want to capitalize on that.”

Horn said event sponsors are looking for ways to continue growing the event by adding programming and partners that make the fair “as effective as possible for all who participate and attend.”