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Margie Manning

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An image of a virtual job fair from a promotional video for Premier Virtual

Tampa Bay Tech plans a virtual career expo to connect job seekers with companies that are hiring.

The non-profit technology council is partnering with CareerSource Tampa Bay, CareerSource Pinellas and Recruiter Networking Group of Tampa Bay on the June 10 event.

The career expo is one of two virtual events that Tampa Bay Tech is producing in the coming weeks. The organization also will host an online version of its poweredUP event series on May 21.

Most people remain skittish about getting together for in-person meetings as Covid-19 continues to make an impact in the community. A University of South Florida-Nielsen poll found nearly 95 percent of Floridians favor limits on public gatherings as a way to slow the spread of the disease. Virtual events allow organizations to keep their members connected.

Jill St. Thomas, executive director, Tampa Bay Tech

Covid-19 has had another impact — rising unemployment numbers after many businesses closed or reduced operations.

“It seems like week after week it was getting more dire,” said Jill St. Thomas, executive director of Tampa Bay Tech. She also participates in workforce conversations with CareerSource, the state agency charged with guiding workforce development. “We did some outreach to all our member companies and asked if they were hiring … and we had enough companies answer yes that we thought this is a need in the community.”

St. Thomas found a Boynton Beach, Florida-based company, Premier Virtual, with a user-friendly and affordable platform for a virtual career fair. Job-seekers will be able to go to each participating company’s virtual “booth,” where they can apply for a job, upload their resume and talk to live recruiters via Zoom.

Tampa Bay Tech also will have educational webinars during the virtual career expo, with general interest topics such as navigating the event, updating resumes and interviewing virtually.

“We hope to make the experience fun,” St. Thomas said. “It’s a daunting task to apply for jobs when you feel there aren’t a lot out there … We hope we can create a day that feels energetic and very supportive of people looking for that next opportunity.”

Tampa Bay Tech just started promoting the career expo Tuesday. By Thursday morning, eight employers and more than 50 job-seekers had registered. Many of the employers are technology companies or have technology job openings, but there are also non-tech jobs as well.

The virtual career expo is free for job-seekers, as well as for members of Tampa Bay Tech and for members of the Recruiter Networking Group of Tampa Bay. Non-members of either organization can purchase a booth for $250.

The virtual career fair will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 10. Click here to sign up as either a company or a job seeker.

Separately, the Tampa Bay Tech poweredUP event on May 21 will focus on questions that have come up about office spaces, remote teams, productivity and the role technology plays as the region gradually reopens for business.

“We started asking, how will it work? How will people feel comfortable going back to an office? We’ve been hearing productivity is up, so will leaders really want to send people back to spaces where they may have to take temperatures or make longer and more cumbersome days for their teams,” St. Thomas said.

Scheduled panelists for the one-hour event, from 11 a.m. to noon May 21, are: Jean Kneisler, vice president and chief information officer at Jabil Healthcare; Scott Arnold, executive vice president and CIO at Tampa General Hospital; and Mike Merrill, Hillsborough County administrator. Jeremy Wilson, executive vice president at Vology, will moderate.

“I want people to be feeling optimistic. I think there is a lot in the news every day about risk and fear, and there’s this climate of people feeling uncertain,” St. Thomas said. “I would love to have people walk away from this session feeling a sense of optimism about Tampa Bay. We may not have all the answers yet, or know how this will end up, but we have a lot smart leaders who will guide us in the ways that are best for our team.”

The event is free and open to the public. RSVP here.

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