Culverhouse HR Student Coordinates Community Job Fair
- January 4th, 2019
By Victoria Martinez
If you were to call upon your talents and resources, how would you help your community? Culverhouse College of Business student Felecia Travis answered that question by organizing a job fair in her hometown of Greensboro, Alabama on November 2, 2018. A senior in Culverhouse’s human resources specialization, Travis was spurred to act by her advisor, who asked her, ‘If I could do anything, what would I do?’,” said Travis. “A thought that kept coming back was to give back to my community.”
Greensboro, Alabama is a small town of 14,812 residents in Hale county, about 38 miles south of Tuscaloosa. The town’s unemployment rate stands at 4.8 percent as of October 2018, higher than the overall state average of 4.1 percent.
“After my advisor asked me that question, I kept thinking, ‘What can I do to help?’,” Travis said. “And then I thought to myself, ‘well I have so many connections, I should use them’.”
The job fair came to mind after Travis saw a social media post with Hale county’s unemployment rate.
Travis leveraged relationships she made through her internship with PrideStaff and her 500 connections on LinkedIn to plan and host the job fair.
“I wanted to use my experience as a human resources major and intern to help lower the unemployment rate in Hale county,” Travis said. “A lot of people don’t know where to start or who to speak to when it comes to getting a job.”
With the advice from her advisor, Travis used social media to see if her community would be interested in a job fair.
“I got positive feedback for the idea,” Travis said. “So I reached out to my HR professor, Larry Baldwin, and he walked me through the steps needed to take to create the fair.”
Travis worked with Greensboro’s mayor and other officials to find a venue and employers that would be interested in having a table at the fair. In conjunction with UA communications staff, Travis also went as far as reaching out to the local news and radio stations and the local newspapers to get information about the event out to community members.
“I wanted everyone who needed to hear about the job fair to hear about it,” she said.
There were 19 companies that networked with the 153 community members at the job fair. Among the companies present were the Alabama Department of Corrections, DCH Health Systems, Hampton Inn, and National Liberty Insurance. In addition to the various companies, the fair included institutions like the University of West Alabama that promoted educational offerings to job fair attendees.
“It was a great turn-out, especially for the first job fair in Hale County. People beat me there,” she said. “The community was very excited to have the fair, many people stopped to thank me for the job fair, the mayor even came and shook my hand.”
But it wasn’t the recognition that kept Travis motivated, it was helping her community find jobs.
Not only did Travis host the fair, she also offered services. She gave various tips on networking and interviewing, helped community members with their resumes, and even offered transportation to and from the job fair.
Travis plans to host another job fair within the next year.
“I gave what I loved to do, which is form relationships with people and help them find jobs, back to my community,” Travis said.