A job fair was held at Kit Carson Electric Cooperative on Friday (Oct. 15) from noon to 4 p.m., with attending businesses, nonprofits and government agencies in Taos and its surrounding areas hoping to find new employees to fill openings.
The Taos County Chamber of Commerce organized the fair, which was accompanied by a live broadcast from 95.9 FM The Mountain radio station. More than 20 organizations set up booths at the event.
“Definitely everybody's short staffed, across the table ... to every industry. And not just Taos county but across the nation, too. So we're just trying to make it easy to access,” said Lindsey Pfaff Bain, the executive director for Taos County Chamber of Commerce.
Pfaff Bain said the intention of the job fair was to make applying for jobs easy, and perhaps fun. She said the in-person event was also a way for people without internet access or who don't like the impersonal process of applying online to meet with businesses face-to-face.
“We went to our members, and our community asked what they needed, what they wanted. And they said they really needed to have access, inclusion and equality,” said Pfaff Bain.
A bus from New Mexico Workforce Solutions Department (NMWSD) was also available at the fair to assist job applicants with online applications with on-board computers. The bus has been in use by NMWSD for nearly 10 years, mostly to serve at job fairs to assist people who live in remote communities that are without or lacking in Wi-Fi services. Mary Mylet, an economic development representative with NMWSD said it operates like a field office.
“We use it statewide for hiring events, or other community events just to be a resource for job seekers and businesses throughout the state,” said Mylet.
Pfaff Bain said she's hopeful that more people who were laid off or quit during the pandemic will find new job opportunities now that special unemployment benefits are being phased out. She said the job fair represented a great networking opportunity; if every business at least talked to one person then it would be worthwhile, she added.
“If we can all have at least 20 [people]? You know, 30? I think that's a huge success,” said Pfaff Bain.
“We really need help at our thrift store, as well as a transitional housing advocate. We have a strong need for volunteers,” said Diana Martinez, community educator for the nonprofit Community Against Violence (CAV).
Martinez said that violence in households goes up during periods of economic stress, such as the current downturn caused by the pandemic. She said that the shelter has been full for a while. Many volunteers and staff are working longer and performing multiple duties to keep it going.
“It’s hard, because we’ve been losing staff instead of gaining staff. So it’s hard when the need goes up,” said Martinez.
Taos Pueblo, Picuris Pueblo, Albertsons, Walmart, Taos Ski Valley, Angel Fire Resort, Red River Brewery, University of New Mexico and more had tables with several job postings.
An estimated 75 people showed up for the fair.
Four people were hired on the spot by local business, Affordable Solar, according to the Taos County Chamber of Commerce.
For more information, call 575-758-8800.