Dressed in professional attire, carrying polished, well-crafted resumes and brimming with optimism, three women participating in Step Up DC, Calvary Women’s Services’ job placement program, attended a job fair on July 12, 2018. Sponsored by the DC Department of Human Services, the job fair was the second of its kind and took place at THEARC (Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus), an education and arts community center in Southeast Washington DC.
The job fair is an initiative of the SNAP Employment & Training program, meant to connect DC residents with employers. More than two dozen organizations from a wide variety of industries were there and eager to recruit for positions in health care, IT, transportation, food service, the hospitality industry and other sectors. According to Laura Green Zeilinger, Director of the Department of Human Services, “the District is committed to creating employment opportunities across the city and ensure [the attendees] have the tools and resources to find success.”
Guest speakers included Eric Ratchford, with the United States Department of Agriculture and Anthea Seymour of the Economic Security Administration. Calvary resident and Step Up DC participant Carol listened attentively to Dr. Carmen White, Ph.D, who encouraged those attending to believe that they have the strength and will power to overcome their adversities. Carol, who is eager to return to work in health care, met with a recruiter at the fair and secured a follow-up interview with the agency to explore appropriate opportunities for job placement.
After the speaker program, registrants were urged to circulate and meet with the many community service organizations that were gathered at different tables on the first floor, providing information and advice about their services. Dena Bauman, the Workforce Development Specialist at Calvary Women’s Services, said, “I was impressed by the number and types of organizations whose mission is to help members of our community move forward in reaching their employment goals. It was a ‘one-stop’ venue that is especially helpful for individuals in targeting particular employers and sectors.”
Following the fair, the Step Up DC group went out for lunch, and one of the participants “seized the opportunity” and applied for a position at the lunch spot, Ms. Bauman said. “Being able to take the initiative, no matter where and when, is a sure sign of future success.”