The number of exhibitors at the Cornwall and Area Job Fair has increased by more than 50 per cent over previous years, with a total of 65 employers attending, including some of the area’s biggest employers such as Walmart Logistics, Biscuits Leclerc and the City of Cornwall.
Bob Peters, manager of economic development in Cornwall, said he expects there will be about 800 positions available at the job fair today at the Cornwall Civic Complex.
“We’re still reeling from the pandemic, job fairs weren’t happening or were happening remotely, and this is the first return to a full-fledged job fair, so employment opportunities are most numerous,” Peters told EOBJ.
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“It’s going to be phenomenal,” he continued. “If I was looking for a job and wanted to go to one place and have direct conversations about the job and what the career would be, in some cases even do the interview or book a time for one, this is where I’d be.”
Nicole Bissonnette, human resources business partner with Biscuits Leclerc in Cornwall, said as the company sees huge increases in demand, it needs more workers. Leclerc is one of the largest employers exhibiting at the fair, which is in its ninth year.
“It’s simply a matter of needing more people to get the job done,” Peters said. “We’ve also had a shift in occupations during the pandemic, where people moved from one sector to another and didn’t come back.”
Baby boomers are retiring and, as employees move up the ladder in their company, they’re “creating holes behind them,” added Peters.
Cornwall is attracting new businesses to the community and expects about 2,500 jobs to become available over the next several years, he said.
“This is the start of a multi-year cycle where job opportunities in Cornwall will just continue to increase,” Peters explained. “There are huge opportunities for people to get in on the ground floor or even the middle floor and find their passion.”
“The labour market in Cornwall is dynamic and we are seeing local employers making progressive changes to the workplace,” said Geoffery Clarke, general manager of corporate services with the City of Cornwall.
Clarke has worked in human resources with major international companies for decades. “And with a lot of growth on the horizon, you can be assured that there will be even more opportunities in the future,” he said.
Peters said there will be positions available for job-seekers of all experience levels, from summer students to senior management. Industries range from government and food processing, to early childhood education.
The top two industries hiring, though, are likely logistics and health care, Peters said.
“We’ve never been in a position where the city had to compete with everybody for these jobs,” he said.
Peters added that many of the employers and exhibitors are looking to start a dialogue with employees in advance, so even if attendees aren’t looking for a job right away, “it’s a worthwhile exercise.”