By Molly Timmins and Louise Majorey
The Opportunity Santa Fe’s AmeriCorps VISTAs assisted the TechHire collaborative working group in organizing a portion of and get the word out about the 2018 Business Expo and Job Fair sponsored by the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, on April 5 from 10-4pm at the Santa Fe Convention Center.
Louise Majorey, AmeriCorps VISTA supporting Career Pathways with Opportunity Santa Fe, has been working with Jennifer Nevarez who runs the TechHire collaborative working group through her organization New Mexico TechWorks. The results of one of their many discussions was the need to promote the growing tech industry in Santa Fe, potentially through a tech and film job fair. Upon hearing this, Louise connected Jennifer with Simon Brackley of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce who runs the annual Business Expo and Job Fair. Louise has worked with the Chamber on other occasions through her VISTA role and thought it would be a good connection for tech industry growth in Santa Fe. Louise’s TechHire and Chamber of Commerce meetings led to the creation of the first ever Tech Corridor at the Expo.
Louise recruited her fellow VISTA team to assist in the creation and realization of the Tech Corridor. While Jennifer was the primary contact in reaching out to her tech contacts, Louise continued supporting the expansion of the Tech Corridor to not only include companies like Descartes Labs and Meow Wolf, but to also include Stagecoach Foundation, George R.R. Martin’s nonprofit dedicated to promoting tech and the film industry. Louise played a key role in brining the Department of Workforce Solutions to the Expo. DWS provides free resume help and other skill building resources for job seekers. Louise connected DWS with her connections at the City of Santa Fe who were able to negotiate with the Chamber to allow DWS to come to the Expo and Job Fair at no cost so as to offer their free services to attendees through onsite workshops.
In coordinating with the VISTA team, Louise brought Ellie Hoffman, who supports the Prevention of Disconnected Youth, onboard to increase youth engagement at the Business Expo and Job Fair. Ellie blasted information about the fair on social media on the Santa Fe Teen Job Center page and supported Louise in reaching out to schools to advocate for field trips. Through these efforts, field trips for computer science classes at Capital and Santa Fe high schools brought over 50 youth to the Business Expo and Job Fair, a feat that had not happened before.
Ellie had worked with the Chamber to create “hiring youth” stickers that businesses could display on their tables to welcome these youth, as well as youth coming with YouthWorks, with their parents, or on their own, to their tables for potential positions. This also helped VISTA Leader Molly Timmins recruit local youth to fill Opportunity Santa Fe’s Summer Associate VISTA positions. Louise recruited the rest of the VISTA team to staff the Tech Corridor to talk to attendees about the Tech and Film industry in Santa Fe and opportunities to participate in summer programming and workshops to advance their tech knowledge.
The Tech Corridor was a success and has been recognized in local papers for spurring knowledge of and interest in the booming tech and film industry in Santa Fe.