“We moved locations three times—we had to, because this kept growing,” Van Duyne said at the Irving Convention Center.
The final product saw nearly 300 employers with roughly 10,000 job openings converging on to the convention center floor.
Van Duyne—a Republican whose 24th Congressional District includes portions of Tarrant, Denton and Dallas counties—spoke about conversations she’d had with local business owners that prompted the event.
“For the last year I have talked to you,” she said. “Right now you have demand, you want to open the economy back up, you want to get businesses back together, and you have openings that are available. So we have tried to respond in the best way possible, being very pragmatic and very practical—and we decided to do a job fair.”
Attendance by jobseekers appeared to be strong during the early hours of the fair, which ran from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Employers with informational tables spanned a myriad of industries, from small businesses and restaurants, to well-known corporations such as Amazon and Target, to public sector entities including several local school districts, municipalities and police departments.
Donna Kauffman, who owns Colleyville-based Unique Landscaping alongside her husband, Kurt, said she was happy with the turnout for the fair.
“It's well-attended,” said Kauffman, while also noting her business had about 12 positions open. “Two months ago when [the job fair] was first advertised through the [Colleyville] Chamber, we signed up right away for it. ... Kudos to [Van Duyne] for doing this in her hometown.”
Representatives from several local municipalities in Tarrant County were in attendance, including Keller mayor Armin Mizani, Colleyville mayor Richard Newton and Fort Worth councilman Cary Moon, among others.
Roanoke mayor Carl “Scooter” Gierisch said he has heard from his own constituents who own businesses some of the challenges they have faced. Gierisch said he has known Van Duyne from her time as mayor of Irving, that he was happy to be an early supporter of the job fair and that he hopes the event will be an inflection point to turning the tide on staffing issues in the metroplex.
“We're hoping this right here will start that,” Gierisch said. “That's our goal is to let this be kind of a waterfall out to our cities.”