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OESC Hosting Tulsa Career Fair

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With the state ending federal enhanced unemployment benefits at the end of the week, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission is hosting another career fair in Tulsa on Wednesday.

The career fair will be at Tulsa Expo Square River Spirit Expo Center. Doors open to veterans at 8:30 a.m. and to the general public at 9 a.m. The event goes until 4 p.m., and applicants are welcome to bring paper résumés, digital copies or use computers on site.

Around 100 employers are expected from industries including logistics, finance and higher education, looking for people with everything from a GED certificate to a master’s degree.

It’s a tight labor market right now. The state’s unemployment rate in May was 4.2%.

"Which is still elevated from pre-pandemic levels. We were at 3.1% in February of 2020. Not a huge gap there, but I think we'll continue to see that decline over the next year, maybe even two years, and that this recovery for the pandemic has been a little bit slower than the Great Recession, which would be the last event we would compare it to," said OESC Executive Director Shelley Zumwalt.

OESC just held a two-day career fair in Tulsa in early May. Zumwalt said turnout was lower than they’d hoped, with around 350 people showing up on day one with employers hiring for 7,100 jobs.

"So, at this point, we've had more job openings than people, but we're hoping that we'll have more motivated attendants and we'll see a better turnout and we can connect some of those people together and get some of our businesses that have really been struggling through this pandemic some eligible and qualified workers," Zumwalt said.

The state is repurposing its federal unemployment funds as a $1,200 "back to work" incentive for up to 20,000 people previously filing for unemployment who work at least 32 hours a week for six consecutive weeks.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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