Job fair organizer expects high attendance

CNJ staff

When unemployment goes up, so does the attendance at a job fair.

That’s the hope for this year’s New Mexico Workforce Connection career expo Thursday at the National Guard Armory in Clovis.

“The last few times, we hit anywhere between 300 and 400,” said Matt Barela, a manager at Clovis’ Workforce Connection branch and the organizer of the fair. “The last time we had an issue like this, we had 1,000.”

He’s expecting that same traffic at the day-long event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The main aim of NMWC, Barela said, is to link employers with potential employees, and the annual expo is one of the best resources to those ends.

There are about 50 vendors expected, Barela said. They stretch from as far away as Colorado, but about 70 percent of them are from the Clovis area.

The vendors hit almost any aspect of employment, whether it’s education, food service, sales or transportation. He said the biggest share will likely belong to the health care and construction fields.

“Right now, I think a lot of it is going to be (work) at Cannon (Air Force Base),” Barela said, “so we’re hitting a lot of contractors right now.”

While Barela expects traffic to be high at the armory because of high unemployment, he said that also means there won’t be as many vendors. Barela usually sends out about 600 invitations, some as early as five months in advance.

“A lot of employers have decided to hold back on hiring,” Barela said, “so we have fewer vendors.”