‘Pop-up’ Springfield event aims to help job seekers

Springfield held a “one-stop pop-up” job fair Wednesday and Thursday in hopes of making the benefits of local job centers more accessible to those looking for work.

“It went really well,” said Sally Payne, interim director of workforce development for the city of Springfield. Her department serves job seekers in seven southwest Missouri counties. Missouri’s job centers offer resources including professional resume help, access to computers for job searching, and on-site hiring events.

Payne said these events often draw in people that may have never visited a job center before, and just need a bit of help. One man, seeking a summer job before joining the military, visited the pop-up Wednesday seeking resume help.

“We worked his resume, and so the young gentleman came back on Thursday, and was so happy and excited,” Payne said, “because he had never looked at himself on paper before, and it was a realization about, just, ‘Wow, I look really good.’”

The one-stop pop-up events seek to address some of the biggest barriers to finding a job by creating a more casual and accessible atmosphere. This particular event took place in a central, outdoor location — Springfield’s Park Central Square — and the less formal setting allowed visitors to bring their children.

“It’s a national issue that transportation and childcare tend to be two of the biggest barriers to employment for many, many people,” Payne said. She hopes that these kinds of events can bring the services of job centers to those who need them as more and more people look to get back out there.

“We’re happy to do them,” Payne said. “It’s a super cost-effective way of serving people and letting them know what services we can get to them.”


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