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More than a 100 people mill about tables with recruiters sitting behind them in a large auditorium.

PG&E, Caltrans, Tesla among the more popular employers at Richmond’s first big post-pandemic job fair

on October 26, 2023

Over 200 people had signed in at the career fair within 30 minutes of its opening at the Richmond Convention Center on Wednesday afternoon. 

The large auditorium buzzed with the chatter of job-seekers mingling with recruiters from 50 companies and organizations. 

“We’re very excited and appreciative that so many people showed up, for this to be our first one since the pandemic,” said Tamara Walker, deputy community services director for the city’s  Employment & Training Department, which hosted the fair.  “We were trying to find out who would show up, how was our marketing, what employers we would have, so that we could prepare for the next one.”

More than a 100 people mill about tables with recruiters sitting behind them in a large auditorium.
First big post-pandemic career fair at the Richmond convention Center. (Photos by Fernando Andrade)

Three standout employer tables were PG&E, Caltrans, and Tesla, with attendees lining up to talk to those recruiters. Some said they showed up just to find out about those companies. 

Asked what PG&E was looking for in prospective employees, representative Amber Kawahara said,  “Everything under the sun.”

With 25,000 employees, PG&E has about 200 job openings at all times, she said, from entry level all the way to vice presidents. “It’s a big company … there’s something for everyone,” she added.

The hiring landscape is much the same at Caltrans, which is always looking to fill positions, said Cameron Oakes, a supervising transportation planner. At the career fair, he guided people through the steps they would take to find an opening and apply.

“That’s kind of what our job is today,” Oakes said, “just to explain the process, explain where to find opportunity, and then how to go after that opportunity.” 

Kevin James smiles into the camera, he is wearing a blue suit jacket and red tie over a white shirt, with gray pants and black dress showed, a clipboard in his left hand. Behind him are lots of people on both sides of many tables in a big auditorium.
Kevin James

Kevin James, an electrical engineer, was mainly interested in  PG&E. James said he recently moved from Buffalo, New York, to the Bay Area, in pursuit of better job opportunities. He came ready, in jacket and tie.

“I prepared for it like I was preparing for an interview,” James said. “I wanted to make sure that they knew I was serious about it.”

Malik Jones, who has four years of sales experience, also dressed to impress. 

“Sometimes you just have to look professional,” he said.

“I can see it’s a big difference by the way they approach you, … especially when you’re younger.”

The goal of RichmondWORKS, which is part of the city’s Employment and Training Department, is to host quarterly career fairs, with twice as many employers as Wednesday’s event. RichmondWORKS will follow up with those who registered at the job fair, providing information about training opportunities and other hiring events.

For job-seekers who were unable to attend the fair, RichmondWORKS offers resources and job postings on its websiteFacebook page and Instagram account

Like departments across the country, Richmond police force struggling to recruit officers

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