Job fair: Teens and young adults sought for dozens of local roles

HYPE Hamilton and Hamilton Amusement and Hospitality Association will host a job fair on Thursday, April 7 for the youth and young adults of the area. CONTRIBUTED

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HYPE Hamilton and Hamilton Amusement and Hospitality Association will host a job fair on Thursday, April 7 for the youth and young adults of the area. CONTRIBUTED

Several local employers are looking for some young talent to fill open jobs, and a pair of community champions will help fill those availabilities.

HYPE Hamilton and Hamilton Amusement and Hospitality Association is hosting a job fair from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at 228 Court St. The job fair is the evolution of the Pastor Shaq Job and Mentoring Program, said Shaquila Mathews, chief executive officer and founder of HYPE Hamilton, and the merger of the two hosts of the event.

“We try to be a resource for our young people,” said Mathews. “We felt after a few years now it’s time to come full circle and really start lining these kids up with some jobs.”

Tyler McCleary, one of the founding HAHA members, met Mathews when they were a part of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Hamilton program. They soon discovered Mathews was looking to get young people into jobs, and McCleary and his group had job openings to fill.

McCleary is also the director of restaurant operations at Tano Bistro, one of the businesses attending the job fair. He said the hospitality industry has seen significant staffing issues since the onset of the pandemic.

“Across the country, we had staffing issues across all industries but the hospital as a whole was hit pretty hard, and Hamilton was no exception that,” he said.

A goal of HAHA’s is to keep local talent in Hamilton.

“We would like to fill the spots with people right here in the city, and keep it local,” McClearly said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted labor markets around the region and the world for the past two years, and with companies wanting―and in some cases needing ― to expand their workforce, Mathews said “we felt like we have a fresh new cycle of kids ready to go to into the workforce.”

For many expected to attend, this could be their first job fair or earning their first job, Mathews said.

The Pastor Shaq Job and Mentoring Program preceded the creation of HYPE Hamilton, which started with 25 kids as a pilot program. In six years, the mentoring program birthed several programs and a teen center, as well as HYPE Hamilton. “So far with just the mentoring program, we’ve helped employed over 280 kids.”

This has been advertised not only in the Hamilton City School District but also in neighboring school districts, like Ross and Fairfield. But it’s important to keep kids local, and a byproduct is community pride, Mathews said.

“A lot of kids, they can walk, they can walk to their jobs. It’s easy to get a ride to one of the local businesses versus trying to get a ride clear out to Mason, to Kings Island,” she said. “If a kid is working at Tano’s or Community First, and they’re walking to their jobs, they still have opportunities to be involved with things in Hamilton, and able to somehow be a part of that and see the great things that they can live in the city of Hamilton, work in the city of Hamilton, be educated in the city of Hamilton.”

“They can discover it’s a great city to live in, and you don’t necessarily have to move somewhere to be great, but you can’t be great here.”

Businesses that will be at the job fair include, but aren’t limited to, Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill, Community First Solutions, multiple YMCA branches, the Greater Chamber of Commerce, Alexander’s Deli, Tano’s Bistro, Hyde’s and Hamilton City Schools.

Mathews said there will be DJ playing music because “a HYPE job fair couldn’t be an ordinary job fair. That’ll be boring.”

McCleary said the job fair will be more of “a social interaction to make it fun for young people.”

And for those with little to no experience seeking a job, he said, “It’s always a little nerve-wracking at first but come in with a strong, clear head. Show people how you can make an impact, how you have a great attitude and how you can take care of people.

But he also said the ideal job for people may just be in Hamilton.

“Also, have an idea of what you want to do long term, but be open to the idea that maybe what you’re looking for is right here in your own backyard,” McCleary said.

Mathews expects a least 150 teens and young adults at the job fair but believes more will come out for the job fair. There are also opportunities for on-the-spot interviews with companies, and Mathews said for those inexperienced with seeking jobs or this would be their first job fair, “Be yourself.”

For more information, contact Mathews at 513-899-6181

TIPS for Thursday’s job fair

Many attending the job fair hosted by HYPE Hamilton and Hamilton Amusement and Hospitality Association will have either not held a job previously, or this is their first job fair. Here are some tips for attending:

  • People can bring a resume, but it’s not required.
  • For those with no experience, it’s advised to talk about informal job experiences, like babysitting, and talk about extracurricular activities, like participation on a sports team or volunteer work.
  • For those with limited work experience, it’s advised to talk about the job or jobs worked, as well as any volunteer work.
  • Be honest and be yourself. Don’t try to be the person you think the prospective employer would want to see.
  • For those with little to no job-seeking experience, it can be nerve-wracking so come with a clear head and a great attitude.
  • Research the companies involved. The list is on the HYPE Hamilton Facebook page.

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