PUTNAM COUNTY — The third annual Elevate hiring event will take place on Tuesday, Mar. 19 at the Leipsic Community Center from 8:30 a.m to 5 p.m.. The entire facility will be used for the event, which has increased in size every year since launching in 2017. Some spots remain available for area employers interested in speaking to active job seekers, as well as Putnam County high school sophomores and seniors who will be attending with their school.

Registration for businesses seeking to participate in Putnam County Elevate 2019 remains open until March 1. To register, visit http://www.putnamcountyohio.com/ and click on the ‘Events’ tab. Or, contact the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce by phone: 419-523-3141 or email: ottawachamber@earthlink.net. Businesses may also register by contacting the Putnam County CIC at 419-523-5595 or pccic@bright.net. Space is limited to the first 40 businesses that register.

“The whole gym will be the employers,” says Suzy Wischmeyer, Director of Putnam County Job and Family Services, which includes Ohio Means Jobs, one of the agencies responsible for planning the event. “The career chat tables will be upstairs in the classrooms. There will be more room than we had before for interview space.”

At least one employer this year has requested a semi-private area to conduct in-person interviews during the day. While that space existed, or was created as-necessary during 2018’s and 2017’s events, the Leipsic Community Center offers greater flexibility and privacy in this regard. During previous years’ events, job seekers gained employment that very day. It is hoped and expected for this to occur this year as well.

During past years’ Elevate events, organizers sought to have adult job seekers and area students attend at separate times of the day. This year, adult job seekers are encouraged to attend whenever it is most convenient for them.

In addition to connecting adult job seekers with area employers, the Elevate event is intended to help educate area students on the expectations and opportunities that exist in the “real world.” It is also meant to introduce those same students to the wide variety of work that is available in their home county immediately following high school graduation, after some advanced education or training is received, and after having acquired a college degree.

“We’re doing career discussion tables,” Wischmeyer says. “We have professionals from 20 different careers that are coming-in. All nine school districts are going to be there this year. The students sign-up for the top three [careers] that they are interested in.”

“They are there for fifteen minutes each at the career chat tables. They get to do all three. And then, there’s a half hour at the job fair. During that time, they can go around and speak with the employers. Ohio Means Jobs is there as well, we have a booth. And, as part of that, we have a table with part-time employers too.”

There will also be opportunities for students to explore part-time employment and summer work as well. As Wischmeyer relates, “With having all of the high school students there, if they’re interested in a job for the summer - the employers are right there.”

Not every local company seeking part-time or summer employees has the ability to send a representative to the Elevate event. The Ohio Means Jobs booth will also have a binder for interested students and adults to look through with those types of jobs available locally, and applications to fill out for those jobs as well.

Given the low unemployment throughout the region, Wischmeyer was asked if any employers from outside of Putnam had requested to join the event as well.

“Diamond Manufacturing in Bluffton, that would be out of county,” she answers. “And, Blanchard Valley Health System, though they do work in the county. We didn’t want to put it out there too much, because we want to give all of our Putnam County employers a chance.”

“That’s the other thing too,” Wischmeyer adds. “We’re trying to grow within the schools. We want to educate the students about what’s in their own backyard. That’s why we’re trying to keep it more locally focused…There are all kinds of opportunities here.”

The Putnam County Elevate 2019 event is the result of a collaboration between Ohio Means Jobs, the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce, the Putnam County Community Improvement Corporation, the Putnam County Educational Service Center, and The Leipsic Community Center.