A strong jobs report earlier this month that holds employment at a low 4.1 percent is fueling a high company turnout for Career Day on March 24 in Newport, R.I.
A large field of 50 companies with 200 job openings will be at this one-day event to connect with job seekers.
The free event will take place at the IYRS School of Technology and Trades on March 24 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Companies attending from nine states do business in the marine, composites or manufacturing industries.
The marine and composites industries have a strong presence in Rhode Island, as well as educational programs that train workers for these businesses.
“For the first time in a long time, we have shifted to a candidate-driven job market,” said Brooks Marine Group president and founder Neal Harrell in a statement.
Brooks Marine Group is a recruiting firm based in Newport that focuses on the marine trades.
According to Harrell, job seekers are in a strong position right now. The recession of caused many marine and composites companies to downsize, putting workers out of jobs; but the tide has turned.
According to the latest statistics from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the U.S. recreational boating industry has seen six consecutive years of growth.
According to the American Composites Manufacturers Association, the composites industry is projected to grow an average of 6.5 percent between now and 2020.
Many companies are willing to train individuals who do not yet have the requisite skills but have strong “soft skills” — such as a willingness to learn, strong work ethic, or good communication skills — because of low unemployment, according to Harrell.
People with professional experience in areas such as sales and marketing, finance, information technology, and engineering can also use Career Day to network and explore career opportunities.
According to Holly Ashton of IYRS School of Technology and Trades — which hosts Career Day with the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association, Composites Alliance of Rhode Island, and Polaris MEP — Career Day is designed to be more than a career fair.
While job seekers are encouraged to bring their resumes and be prepared to speak with prospective employers, the event is also for people who are employed but exploring future career options.
“Career Day is a prime opportunity for all levels of career seekers,” said Ashton. “Companies set the day aside to speak with individuals who are interested in working in their industry, so whether you are looking for a job or building your career, this event is a great way to learn about these industries and make the kind face-to-face connections that can prove valuable as you plot your next career move.”