Hundreds find job hope at training fair

See how unemployed and underemployed people found hope at this unique outer East Portland event, on Glisan Street …

This building no longer sells food and consumer goods; today, people are coming to this location in the Hazelwood neighborhood seeking the way to having a family-wage job.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

With the economy picking up, more businesses are looking for trained workers than ever. That’s the message organizers used, to promote the Vocational Training and Apprenticeship Fair held on August 1.

The parking lot was full of vehicles driven to the former Target Store on NE Glisan Street near NE 122nd Avenue – which is now the Oregon Department of Human Services East County Family Service Center.

Human Solutions Vocational Training Counselor Sherrie Pollanz and Community Works Project Business Affairs Supervisor James Frothingham welcome guests to the Vocational Training and Apprenticeship Fair.

“We’re here today to give people an idea of what’s available in employment and training, right now, in this labor market – what’s good, what’s hot, and where they can go to school,” explained Human Solutions Vocational Training Counselor Sherrie Pollanz

“Here, at 46 tables, are a combination of apprenticeship programs, and vocational training programs,” pointed out Community Works Project Business Affairs Supervisor James Frothingham.

This fair provides a casual atmosphere where potential learners and educators can meet.

Asked to name some of the hot employment opportunities now, Pollanz responded, “Anything in the medical field is very strong now; and, anything that offers opportunities with apprenticeships also the desirable – they’re doing exceptionally well in this economy.

“And, we also have we have all of the ‘career pathways’ from both Mt. Hood Community College and Portland Community College; ‘pathways’ are shorter-term trainings leading into longer-term trainings – for example, obtaining a twi0year college Associates degree,” said Pollanz.

Here, peaking with prospective students, is Northwest Institute of Electrical Technology Education Coordinator Chelsea Stiteler.

“It’s true; employers are finding they do not have enough trained people in the labor market,” assured Pollanz. “And, that being said, there are a lot of people who need training in the labor market – here, we’re trying to facilitate making that connection here in the outer East Portland and Gresham community.”

“The best result we expected was lots of new people enrolled in training programs and starting apprenticeships in the trades,” Frothingham chimed in.

And, apparently, the idea of this kind of employment fair was well received, because more than 250 people came through to visit with the exhibitors, take information and applications – and some signed up for training programs on the spot.

Karl Armstrong hears about the lucrative potential offered by careers in welding and HVAC programs, from Portland Community College Career Pathways Education Coordinator Nicole Booker.

“And, it’s more than just about helping employers; it really benefits people who live right here when they qualify for living-wage jobs, because, in turn, it helps families succeed,” Pollanz smiled.

“Also, it leads to more families becoming self-sufficient, for the long-term,” Frothingham added.

With the success of this event, the organizations may team up to create another similar event in the fall, the organizers told East Portland News. If they do, you’ll find it posted here, in our Community Calendar.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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