On May 19 in the Cherokee County Community Building, job seekers and business representatives met at the Diversified Job Fair, which was hosted by Cherokee Nation Career Services.
“We knew that a lot of employers are needing employees, so we wanted to help area workforce partners come in and recruit for some of their positions. We also know that a lot of people in Cherokee County are looking for work, the Diversified Job Fair helps a lot of people,” said Hunter Palmer, director of Economic Development at Cherokee Nation Career Services.
He said that Cherokee Nation Businesses is opening a lot of positions, especially in entertainment, food and beverage service, and hotels and casinos.
Cherokee Nation Tables included Career Services, Cherokee Nation Business, Human Resources, Nursing Program, Child Care Program, Talking Leaves Job Corp., and Literacy Center.
Other non-Cherokee Nation affiliated vendors included American Airlines, Harmony House, OSUIT, Fort Smith Fire Department, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Heavy Metal Training Institute, American Welding Laboratories, RLC Business Services, Conner Industries, Inc. Northeastern Health System, Provalus, Go Ye Village, Department of Rehabilitation, Cherokee Temps Inc., U.S. Army, CaptiveAire, Custom Seating Inc., Cherokee Nation Home Health, Tahlequah Public Works, Abel Moving, Bank of the Cherokees, Health and wellness Center, and Swans.
“We call it a Diversified Job Fair because we have diverse industries that have come together today. We have employers in manufacturing, aerospace, tribal government jobs, CDL driver jobs… It’s a diverse number of industries that are hiring for different skill sets,” said Palmer.
Will Ruzic, vice president of facilities and operations at Provalus, set up a table. Provalus is an IT firm that is considering setting up shop in the heart of Tahlequah.
“We service, typically, a lot of Fortune 500 companies, Dallas Cowboys, Chick-Fil-A, AT&T, and Verizon, and we do anything from cybersecurity to installations, to security to coding,” said Ruzic.
Provalus specializes in rural community development.
“We go into rural communities and we bring folks into the IT world. We are not hiring for experience, we are looking for people who have wanted to get into IT, but have never had that kind of experience,” he said.
If Provalus moves to Tahlequah, it will place its operations in downtown Tahlequah.
“We specialize in putting our buildings in the heart of a community, so we are looking for facilities in downtown. Our goal is to put 100, 200, or 300 people in the heart of the community so we can help support restaurants and retail and maintain a vibrant community,” he said.
When considering different cities, Tahlequah stuck out because of its relationship with Cherokee Nation and because of Northeastern State University.
“Cherokee Nation supports, not just their people, but everyone that lives in the community. And the fact that there is a four-year college in the heart of your community is just amazing,” said Ruzic. “I’m impressed just in the pride that people have in this community. When you start talking to folks, it’s apparent that people love it.”
Representatives of Cherokee Nation Alternative Education and Assessment attended a booth that sought to help job seekers to improve their résumés.
Ben Barnett, manager of Alternative Education and Assessment, said that he has been doing career fairs for four or five years, and he helps people to get ready for the job market.
“What we’ve found is that there are a lot of times that people come from the community and they don’t have polished résumés. They weren’t putting their best foot forward. There was a need, so we started setting up. We act as liaisons for people coming that may not know if they need a résumé.”