For the first time, the city of Solon will present a job fair in the city, partnering with the Solon Chamber of Commerce in an effort to meet the challenges of area businesses.

“Work force development and staffing are a big challenge to every single company we deal with,” said Tom Bennett, president and CEO of the chamber. A job fair will be one way to address this, he said.

The fair, free to participate, will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Solon Community Center. Area businesses wishing to register can do so by visiting the chamber’s website at www.solonchamber.com and following the direct link. Deadline for registration is Nov. 1 for employers, with job seekers able to register up until the event.

The goal is for 40 businesses to take part in the job fair, said the city’s Director of Marketing and Business Development Angee Shaker.

“This will be an opportunity for their team to connect with job seekers as well as conduct on-site interviews with potential candidates,” she said.

The Solon job fair follows a similar event held this summer where the city and chamber partnered with OhioMeansJobs, an online career counseling center. The fair was presented in downtown Cleveland. Ms. Shaker said employers wanted Solon to host a job fair.

“The job fair we did with the chamber and OhioMeansJobs was outstanding,” Ms. Shaker said, “and there was a huge turnout. But the challenge was getting our businesses downtown (Cleveland).”

Ms. Shaker said business operators tell her about their struggles with workforce development.

“We will give this a try and see how it goes,” Ms. Shaker said. “We are opening it up to all different types of businesses.” That includes health care, technical and service oriented positions.

“We are opening it to everybody,” she said.

In the future, they may section it off by types of business, but for now “it’s wide open.”

Ms. Shaker said it is becoming more and more typical for onsite interviews to take place at job fairs. “It will save our business community time and money when it comes to marketing and recruiting. The chamber and city feel this is really a great support, and we should be providing this to our businesses.”

Ms. Shaker said when she is out at various events throughout the country promoting Solon to businesses and developers, she is asked about the city’s talent pool.

“They want to make sure if they bring their business to Solon that we have the people and talent to fill those positions,” she said. “It is incumbent on us to take on this role.”

Mr. Bennett said a handful of area companies are signing up each day.

Ms. Shaker said they would expect Hobby Lobby and Aldi food store to join in the event, and already have commitments from Home Savings Bank, Loan Protector and DBat. Panera has inquired about the job fair, she said.

“We are looking at all positions open in Solon and targeting businesses that way,” she said. “It is free to participate. Just bring a table cloth and your marketing materials and be ready to interview some great people.

“We want as much foot traffic walking through there as possible,” she said.

“It’s going to be a big event,” Mr. Bennett added.

“We want to give our companies the exposure and really connect job seekers to good jobs in this great city,” Ms. Shaker said.

For the last decade, Sue Reid has covered the government, business climate and residents of Solon. A Times reporter for 22 years, Ms. Reid has earned commendations from the Ohio Newspaper Association and Cleveland Press Association.

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