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2015 Bastrop Career and Job Fair

By Terry Hagerty – Contributing writer

A unique two-day job fair that will provide students and adults the opportunity to meet potential employers is set to be quite impressive.

The free two-day event is called the Bastrop Career & Job Fair and will be held May 8-9 at the Bastrop Convention and Exhibit Center. It will help both citizens and students to “explore employment options” and “obtain good jobs” and – for adults – also assist them in considering potential career changes. It will be a great opportunity to “showcase Bastrop to employers as a good location to live and work,” according to organizers.

The Youth Career Fair for students will be first up – on Friday, May 8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Over 1,000 juniors and seniors from Bastrop and Cedar Creek high schools will interact with employers, ask questions, practice interviewing skills, and learn about current and future employment trends.Becki Womble, President of the Bastrop Chamber of Commerce, speaks with an attendee at the Job Fair walk-through event.

The event will also help students fine-tune their class selections in order to be more “employer-ready” upon graduation. The Bastrop High School Performing Arts group will put on skits about interviewing, résumé preparation, job searching and other topics. The students will be eligible to win prizes for participation in this event, courtesy of the Bastrop Rotary Club.

The Adult Job Fair is the next day, on Saturday, May 9, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Many of the participating companies (see end of story on acquiring list) offer on-the-job training or paid training. Some companies even plan to hire ‘on the spot!’ according to organizers. Adults are asked to bring their driver’s license, current professional license(s), an up-to-date résumé and dress professionally.

Council Member ‘ignites idea’ for fair

On Tuesday, organizers held a preliminary gathering at the Convention Center for employers who will be attending the event. In addition to going over the logistics and layout of the job fair, the gathering gave officials an opportunity to educate employers about what Bastrop has to offer, said Kelly Gilleland, a Bastrop City Council member and one of the driving forces in organizing the two-day event.

For Gilleland, who came up with the idea for offering a ‘mega-type job fair,’ the motivation was personal.

“As I was making the 45 minute drive to my job in (Flatonia) one morning, I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated that I had to commute so far from my home in order to make a decent living,” Gilleland detailed in an email. “I know that many of our residents and neighbors face the same dilemma. How long can you realistically stay in a town if you can't make a living there? How long before you start thinking about moving away?”

Shawn Kirkpatrick, Executive Director of the Bastrop EDC, speaks to the group attending the Job Fair walk-through event.Gilleland said she wanted to match up “local talent” with employers.

“I came up with the idea of hosting a job fair to help bring our local talent together with employers in the region. We have a great and diverse community, filled with everything from skilled labor to PhD's - and we all want to work where we live.”

She said she found the Texas Workforce Commission very enthusiastic in support.

“I took my job fair idea to the local office of the Texas Workforce Commission, and found that they were already in discussions with our school district,” Gilleland said. “They were looking for ways to help our kids chart career paths and plan for their futures. We decided to combine the two projects into one event!”

The career and job fair is being jointly sponsored by the City of Bastrop, Bastrop Economic Development Corporation, the Bastrop Chamber of Commerce, and the Texas Workforce Commission. For a list of participating companies and for more information, go to: www.bastropcareerfair.com. Or contact any of these sponsors: City of Bastrop (Kelly Gilleland, 512-718-1244); Bastrop Economic Development Corp. (Angela Ryan, 512-303-9700); Bastrop Chamber of Commerce (Becki Womble, 512-303-0558); or the Texas Workforce Commission (512-303-3916).