CLC virtual job fair may be more beneficial than in-person event

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    CLC Student learning to be a professional welderCollege of Lake County

Updated 10/23/2020 11:09 AM

College of Lake County's annual Manufacturing Job Fair has gone the way of so many other events: virtual. While this move was made with safety in mind, job seekers and company recruiters may be surprised by the experience.

"I'm excited about it. It's different. You're looking at a screen, you have people entering into a chat," said Diane Walkowiak, senior talent acquisition partner with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited. Her company is one of the manufacturers taking part in the job fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28, and it won't be her first time going virtual.


Unlike face-to-face events, job seekers won't have to wait in extensive lines or shout to be heard over the crowds. Not only will they get more one-on-one time with potential employers, but employers will be able to interact directly with more potential applicants.

It's a prospect Anni Ford, HR manager with Smalley Steel Ring Co., is looking forward to.

"This will be our first ever virtual job fair. A lot of times at a career fair some people will just walk by your space. They don't always get the opportunity to speak to somebody but now they're coming to you because they want to hear about your company."

Historically the CLC job fair, celebrating October Manufacturing Month, brings together 20-30 companies and more than 200 job seekers from throughout Lake County to campus. The event gives the community an opportunity to look inside an industry which employs more than 50,000 people in the county and see how far manufacturing has advanced into a rewarding and in-demand industry since the days of dark and dirty productions floors.

Along with Takeda and Smalley, a few of the companies participating include AkzoNobel, Eagle Foods, HN Precision, MacLean-Fogg, Medline Industries and Novelis.

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"These and other companies are looking to bring opportunities to job seekers," said Gina Smith, workforce manager at CLC's career and job placement center.

With such a high level of potential success for all involved the real question is what happens after the pandemic has passed? Ford believes virtual events will be here to stay. "There's positives for both kinds of forums but I think we have the ability to reach a lot more people this way."

This includes candidates who currently have jobs and can only step away for a few minutes to participate. "It's not easy to leave work to come see you, but in the digital era, employees can job search on their lunch break, log-in really quick to chat and get in touch with me," said Walkowiak. "Then they can shoot me over their resume and I can send them back a job link. We can then set up a time convenient to talk without interrupting their current workday."

There is still space for additional employers to register. Job seekers can also access the event through this link.

For more information about the College of Lake County, visit or call (847) 543-2000.

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