By Laura Cone
Brandon News Published: April 13, 2016
While helping clients in need of food or clothing, Sharmaine Burr discovered most people desperately want work. This year, she will help job candidates prepare for the ECHO (Emergency Care Help Organization) job fair with mock interviews and first impression assessments.
Burr, the director of social services for ECHO, said the April 21 job fair will take place at the Boys & Girls Club, 213 N. Knights Ave., Brandon, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“The job fair was a vision I had for over two years after listening to clients come in day after day to receive food and clothing because they are either underemployed or unemployed,” she said. “They have a desire to work so they can provide for their families.”
Burr oversees the “Client Center” operation as well as manages classes in ECHO’s “Opportunity Center” such as our Jobs4Jobs employability program, financial literacy, GED, & Mommy & Me.
“Seeing that there were not many job fairs that happened in the Brandon area, I just felt the need to continue to push the vision which came true last year when ECHO hosted our fall job fair,” she said. “I had less than 60 days to pull it together, so it was such a blessing to see the vision come alive. There were over 150 applicants that came out looking for jobs and over 30 employers and agency’s ready to receive the applicants.”
She said the upcoming job fair will include free parking and computer access. The first 25 candidates who arrive receive a free portfolio.
She said this year would be different because they will add a “pre-job fair assessment” on April 15, which includes. Mock interviews and resume reviews also will occur during the actual job fair on April 21.
“The first impression assessment is important because making a great impression is imperative and everything contributes to the way we look on the outside as well how we feel on the inside,” she said. “Everything counts. Planning this event takes dedication, patience and persistence. Because I love what I do, it comes natural to me. While it has not been easy, it’s worth it when I receive emails of success stories resulting from the job fair.”
Zuleyka Castro, the communications manager for ECHO, said the participating companies include Bass Pro Shops, Cheddars, Man Power, Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA, Wells Fargo, Hillsborough Community College and other small businesses and major employers from the area.
Castro said the goal is to create a biannual event that connects a large number of quality job candidates with participating companies.
Some of the positions available include administrative assistant, accountant, plant manufacturing, information technology, after-school group leader, bus operator, sales, cashier, and bilingual phone operators.
Castro said people should register by visiting echospringjobfair.eventbrite.com or by visiting echofl.org.
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