Holding job fairs in churches is an innovative idea. Several companies get together and sponsor a fair at a church. But a South Windsor, Conn.-based TicketNetwork took their concept to another level by hosting its own job outreach recently at New Antioch Missionary Baptist Church to fill TicketNetwork job openings at its headquarters.
TicketNetwork is an online entertainment ticket outlet that matches buyers and sellers. The company had a number of full- and part-time job openings that included: call center representative/bilingual call center representative; order fulfillment specialist; full-time junior exchange associate; junior purchasing associate; housekeeper; executive support specialist; and loan intake specialist.
The idea evolved out of a general dinner discussion between a Connecticut Baptist minister, Rev. Dr. Boise Kimber, who has churches in both New Haven and Hartford and was the former President of the CT State Missionary Baptist Convention, and TicketNetwork’s CEO and founder rDon Vaccaro. They were brainstorming on how to recruit more African Americans for employment at TicketNetwork. Soon after, TicketNetwork launched a test in a small local African-American church in Hartford, Connecticut in February 2014, and the response was overwhelming. “TicketNetwork eventually hired 30 percent of the attendees from this initial community career fair,” says Vaccaro.
For TicketNetwork, reaching out to the the Black church provided a good pool of potential workers. “We feel it is important to go where the workers are, so we partnered with urban institutions to recruit through more non-traditional avenues,” says Vaccaro. “We have hired some very good employees from these job fairs, and hope to continue to do so in the future.”
Adds Rev. Kimber, “Churches are full of parishioners praying for employment opportunities, so it makes sense to have companies recruiting there. These job fairs are a powerful opportunity for individuals to reignite their future hopes and dreams.”
This was not the first time TicketNetwork has teamed up with churches. “We have held fairs in small churches with less than 200 members, as well as a megachurch with 4,000 members. We plan to expand our network of partner churches. Rev. LeRoy Bailey III of the CT megachurch the First Cathedral said that “one of our most important goals is full employment for every person seeking a job. But more than that, we want to create an atmosphere where people can discover their full potential through meaningful careers,” says Vaccaro.
TicketNetwork wanted to do something beyond the typical job fair. “We discovered that of course there were many people out there seeking employment, and even though we hired 30 percent of the applicants, there were still many more who were good applicants, but just weren’t a fit for TicketNetwork for one reason or another,” explains Vaccaro. “So we decided to expand the community career fairs to include other businesses seeking employees. In September 2014 we expanded the fair to include 15 other companies, which included car rental companies, state government departments, several local police departments, local casinos, and other local and national companies.”
They have already expanded to other Black community organizations. “We also expanded the sponsorship partners to include the CT NAACP (along with TN and CSMBC). Led by their longtime leader and national NAACP board member Scot X. Esdaile, they have extensive experience with organizing job fairs, and with outreach to the communities we propose to reach,” says Vaccaro.
TicketNetwork will continue too with its fairs at churches. “We plan to have another fair in New Haven at a local church in February 2016 since we have a company sponsored van to transport employees to work from New Haven,” says Vaccaro.