Indy's Black Expo has sold out of space for employer booths at the Summer Celebration's job fair earlier this week, sooner than every before, IBE President Tanya Bell said.
The 27th Annual Employment Opportunity Fair, sponsored by WTHR-TV13, will be held on Thursday, July 16, in the 500 Ballroom of the Indiana Convention Center. More than 90 booths are being admitted into the employment fair. Although the maximum number of employers didn’t start selling out until recent years, this is the earliest that the event has filled.
“We’ve never been sold out a week in advance,” Bell said. “We have people on the waiting list right now, and we’re hoping to expand the fair to include as many employers as possible.”
Attendees will have the opportunity to speak directly with managers, and employment-seekers can be interviewed on the spot for job opportunities. In 2014, nearly 3,000 individuals attended the event, according to IBE annual reports. With the packed house, Bell anticipates an even larger turnout this year.
“The job piece is key for anyone that’s going to attend,” Bell said. “With the large numbers of people we have looking for jobs right now, this is going to be important for the black community.”
The U.S. Labor Bureau reported current unemployment rates for African Americans at 11 percent nationally, and for black Hoosiers, the numbers for those without jobs is up to 13.1 percent. In a city with over 300,00 African Americans, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, who made an appearance on Thursday’s event at Light of the World Christian Church, is a contender for the opportunity that helps members of the community find jobs and career paths.
“[The Summer Celebration] is a coming together of a lot of components, but it’s really about economic empowerment,” Ballard said. “I think it sends message to everyone else that Indianapolis’ Black Expos is strong.”
The Employment Opportunity Fair will offer workshops to benefit job-seekers focusing on social media, interviewing skills, networking and self-branding from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. There is no cost for those looking for jobs, although online pre-registration for the event is recommended.