Youth job fair will help connect teens to job opportunities
More than 60 companies have registered to participate in the youth job fair, scheduled for Thursday at the Oregon Convention Center.
PORTLAND, Ore. — An upcoming youth job fair scheduled for the Oregon Convention Center will give Portland-area teens and young adults a chance to connect with hiring managers from more than 60 different companies.
Among the young participants will be 17-year-old Mekhi Rhone, who is currently learning to wash dishes and prepare meals as an intern in the kitchen at the Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center. He said he’s honing skills that he hopes will make him a star at the job fair.
“They’re important because they give teenagers and young people the edge and a way to go out and contact the employer themselves,” he said.
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The lineup of businesses at the fair will include companies like Starbucks, Alaska Airlines and Timberline Lodge. The event is organized by Worksystems, a local workforce development council that helps prepare teens and adults for well-paying jobs.
Barb Timper, manager of youth services at Worksystems, said Portland faces many challenges when it comes to youth employment.
“Before the pandemic, Portland actually had the fourth highest youth unemployment rate for cities of a similar size at 11%,” she said.
At the height of the pandemic, youth unemployment reached as high as 20%, she added.
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Timper said this week’s job fair was also aimed at BIPOC youth.
“For young people of color, the unemployment rate can be one and a half to two times that of the general population,” Timper said.
Rhone said he was doing everything he could to land his next job. He said he had applied for a lot of jobs, but hadn’t had much luck so far. He hopes things will change once he attends the job fair.
“You also have the opportunity to interview and meet several companies and associate yourself with different jobs that are beyond the reach of people,” he said.
The job fair is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, August 18. More information is available on the show’s website.