IVAC partners with BEST to host drive-thru job fair

Event will take place Oct. 19 with more than 25 employers

Those looking to find employment will have another option to check out when the Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and Business Employment Skills Team Inc. hosts their drive-thru job fair.

This event will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19, in the Habitat ReStore parking lot at 1011 Shooting Park Road in Peru. There will be a rain date of Friday, Oct. 22.

Participants will drive through the event and receive important information in the form of a packet instead of having to go from booth to booth like more traditional job fairs.

“We’re trying to make it convenient,” said IVAC Director Bill Zens. “Where if you are on your lunch break, working, and you want to see what else is out there; you can literally drive through and we’ll hand you the packet and you can be on your way in less than 5 or 10 minutes.”

The information will be provided to those who come through, as then the responsibility will be on the individual to reach out to places they are interested in working for.

More than 25 employers are scheduled to take part in the event and will offer opportunities including frontline hospitality roles, industrial electricians, accounting managers, among other positions.

“So if you want an entry level role, there will be some of that,” Zens said. “If you’re looking for more of a professional role, there’ll be some of that or for a technical trades role there will be that. We’ve got a little bit of everything, which is nice.”

Zens and his organization have attempted to create a wide-reaching event anyone who is looking to find employment or to change their career paths can explore.

Zens said the market for companies looking to hire is not small, as many businesses around the area and outside the Illinois Valley continue to search for workers.

“I think everyone is in the same boat, not just in the Illinois Valley,” Zens said. “It’s statewide and nationwide. We’ve all seen the reports and unemployment levels and the impact that COVID had. It was a perfect storm the last year and a half.”

Zens knows there are employers who are looking and workers who are looking and he hopes IVAC can play a part in bringing these parties together.

IVAC has taken advantage of many partnerships to put this event on. BEST will be providing additional tools and information that could help those who attend land the job they want.

“We’ve tried to check as many boxes as possible to ease as many concerns as possible for folks who are looking,” Zens said.

From resume writing to application writing and even available assistance for child care, this event can help job seekers get going in the right direction, Zens said.

“Childcare has been a big question mark for people not knowing for sure what schools are going to be doing,” Zens said. “That’s been a concern for some parents that have been in the unemployment line for a little bit. People are saying, ‘How do I take a job, not knowing who is going to take care of my kid?’”

The IVAC has been working with OSF’s Silver Cross Programs, which is more of a stress, burnout and anxiety service.

“We are trying to be full-fledged,” Zens said. “Not just the jobs themselves but some of the services that are here locally that people may not know about can really help in times like this.”

The drive-thru job fair will be the first in La Salle-Peru but it is not the first of its kind as other Chambers of Commerce have hosted similar events in Ottawa and Princeton.

“We’re fortunate that there’s a chamber community that we’ve all been in conversation with,” Zens said. “It’s kind of been spurred by previous ones.”

The IVAC has been preparing 200 of the information packets it hopes will be able to give to interested individuals. If packets run out, all of the job listings have been posted on the chamber’s website.

“My goal is get as many people through as possible,” Zens said. “If we run out of the packets, they will be able to see those same postings online. The goal is to help the community members who need the roles as well as the business members who need the roles filled.”