Job action: Edmonton MP, city councillor team up to run employment fair

Two Edmonton politicians have paired up to create a unique event that aims to boost prosperity with a positive impact on people’s pockets.

The first-ever Friday night job fair is the brainchild of Edmonton MP Matt Jeneroux and city councillor Tim Cartmell, who came up with the plan while “thinking outside the box” during a discussion about unemployment.

“We’re hearing from a number of people who have been contacting our offices, saying they’ve lost their jobs and the devastation that comes along with that,” Jeneroux said Friday on CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM.

“How can we do everything that we can to make sure that we fighting hard against some of the rising unemployment that we are seeing?”

Matt Jeneroux is a Conservative MP for Edmonton-Riverbend. (supplied)

The result was that Cartmell and Jeneroux each talked to companies they knew were looking to hire and gathered them — as well as the Canadian Mental Health Association and agencies offering resumé writing tips and professional photos for LinkedIn — for a job fair.

It runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. tonight at the Terwillegar Community Recreation Centre, 2051 Leger Rd.

National unemployment numbers released Friday showed a slight improvement in February, with 30,300 new jobs added to the economy. In Alberta, employment increased by 11,000, mostly among youth. The provincial unemployment rate was little changed, at 7.2 per cent, Statistics Canada reported.

Edmonton saw a dip in its jobless numbers as unemployment dropped to 7.8 per cent from 8.2 per cent in January. In contrast, Calgary’s jobless rate edge up slightly to 7.4 per cent, from 7.2.

“But these are among the highest numbers in the country and we want to do everything we can to link up employers and potential employees,” Jeneroux said.

He said many of the employers who will be at the fair are seeking a mix of part-time and full-time workers.

Some of the companies that will be represented are Cameron Development, Elevate Aviation, NorQuest College, NAIT, Park Paving and a few supply companies from the oil and gas sector.

Jeneroux credits his staff for taking on the logistics of setting up the event.

“If this is successful, if we’re able to employ a lot of Edmontonians out of an event like this, then absolutely we’ll look at doing it again,” he said.

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