When Joe Daviduke asked for time off from his former job as a banquet manager because his wife was having major back surgery, his boss refused. Daviduke left the job to be with his wife. Nine months later, he was still looking for a new job at the Rasmussen College Mokena/Tinley Park Campus Career and Networking Fair on Thursday.
Daviduke, an Oak Lawn resident, came to the fair looking for work in the hospitality field. “I’ve driven over an hour for some job fairs,” Daviduke said. “This one is actually nice because it’s not all insurance companies. A lot of times, a fair will advertise a bunch of companies and then most of them don’t show up.”
Daviduke was one of around 25 people who signed in at the career fair. Carmine Paterno, another job hunter, said he has been searching for a retail job for the past 14 months. Paterno said he attends job fairs to make connections and meet with new people.
“Most positions get filled through networking,” Paterno said. “It’s hard to have face-to-face communications nowadays.”
He described applying to jobs online as a “black hole of abyss” because of how many others also apply.
Others, such as Jenny Ellul, just came for the networking opportunity. Ellul is a loan officer with Guaranteed Rate and often networks with other businesses.
This was the Mokena/Tinley Park campus’ second career fair since it opened in August 2010. All 21 Rasmussen campuses host free, open-to-the-public career and networking fairs, which also include resume critiques.
Staci Hegarty, campus director at the Rasmussen Mokena/Tinley Park campus, said it was a great opportunity for graduates at the school to look at job openings, for residents of the community to search for jobs and also for businesses to network together.
“We have 17 local businesses here in banking, retail, real estate, medical, a really nice mix,” Hegarty said. “We open it to the public because it goes along with Rasmussen’s culture to be part of the community.”
Hegarty said the career fair grew in size from the previous fair they hosted in August, right after they first opened. Still, many businesses packed up early after a slow turnout.
Lee Kaz, Mokena Chamber of Commerce president, said Rasmussen is still new, so it’ll take time.
“They’ll need to have four to five fairs before people really start coming,” Kaz said.
Kaz was at the fair to promote the Chamber of Commerce’s new initiative this year, which uses the slogan “invest in the businesses that invest in you.” Mokena Patch is a member of the Mokena Chamber of Commerce.
Others attended the fair to promote their business. Judy Sears searched for education majors for job openings at Little Blossom Early Education in Mokena. Jewel Lindsey promoted a variety of positions available at Chiro One Wellness Centers. Eva Kukulka endorsed the Illinois Skills Match, which is a free Internet-based job matching system, provided by the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Dina Navas represented the Tinley Park Police Department and said though the department is not currently hiring, she was there to let job seekers know the requirements for department positions.
Most business representatives said they came to be a part of the career fair because it seemed like a good opportunity to fill jobs and to network with other businesses.
As Rose Paleczny of PNC Bank in Frankfort said, “We’re reaching out to the community and letting them know what we’re looking for.”
Hegarty, campus director, said the next career fair will be sometime in summer 2011.