Expo seeks biz boost

Businesses encouraged to showcase themselves at Career Expo.

PORT HARDY—Local business and entrepreneurs have a unique opportunity to network and to showcase themselves before the full range of potential North Island employees at next month’s debut of the Career Expo, said the director of the Regional District of Mount Waddington’s Coordinated Joint Workforce Initiative.

Penni Adams, whose duties wind down when the two-year, provincially funded programs ends, said the Oct. 26 Career Expo at Port Hardy Civic Centre will gather large and small employers, service organizations, training and educational institutions, and job seekers under one roof.

The event is co-hosted by Community Futures of Mount Waddington, North Island Employment, the Port Hardy and District and Port McNeill and District Chambers of Commerce, North Island College and the North Vancouver Island Aboriginal Training Society.

“This is more than a traditional job fair,” said Adams. “Yes, it’s for students, but it’s also for the unemployed, for those seeking a career change, and for those who may be re-entering the workforce after taking time off to raise a family.

“It’s a broad spectrum, and we’re encouraging businesses to become partners in sharing with the community what their needs are.”

The deadline to register a booth or interactive display at Career Expo 2012 is Sept. 28. There is no exhibitor fee, which should benefit the small businesses Adams is hoping to bring in along with the large employers already committed to the event.

“Small businesses are our major employer on the North Island, when you combine all of them,” she said. “But it is harder to involve them, because they’re out there trying to make their living every day. We just want to emphasize this is a way for them to promote themselves, as well.”

The objectives of the Expo cover the gamut of work and business in the region, from providing employment, training and education information to potential employees to connecting businesses to businesses.

Among those already registered are Western Forest Products, Neucel Specialty Cellulose, Strategic Forest Management, Marine Harvest, West Coast Helicopters, Visions Learning Centre and North Island College. From further abroad are Vancouver Island University, Geoscience BC mineral explorations and the Industry Training Authority, which provides apprenticeship information and which, Adams believes, is appearing north of Campbell River for the first time.

A welcome reception will be held for exhibitors on the eve of the Expo, beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25 at the Port McNeill Community Hall.