KALISPELL - More than 1,500 people are expected to attend Northwest Montana’s largest job fair in Kalispell next Thursday.
The event will feature more than 100 employers from an array of fields, including a specialized focus on childcare career paths.
“Whether that’s full-time, part-time, remote, night, weekend, seasonal, so there really will be something for everyone,” said Kalispell Chamber of Commerce Workforce and Special Initiatives Director Jenn Cronk.
Opportunities will be endless at the Northwest Montana Job and Opportunity Fair at the Flathead County Fairgrounds Trade Center in Kalispell on April 6.
“Everything from manufacturing to your early childhood education and childcare to hospitality and healthcare and more,” added Cronk.
Cronk said one specialized aspect of the job fair will focus on childcare careers, with more than 10 employers expected to attend.
“That quality you know early childhood education and care that provides that nurturing and security for parents to know that they can go to work each day and that their children are being well-cared for is just essential to the community.”
Collette Box — the director of Discovery Developmental Center in Kalispell, a non-profit childcare and early learning center — says the demand for childcare has skyrocketed in Flathead County.
“There are families that call every day and it’s truly heartbreaking to have to continually say that we’re totally full, even looking out into the fall,” said Box.
Box said there simply aren’t enough skilled workers to keep up with the growing demand. She added childcare leaders across the state are working to change that.
“There’s a huge very connected early childhood community in this state really working toward developing a workforce that’s going to be well-paid and well-experienced and well-educated,” added Box.
She said that starts with finding potential employees who have a passion for working with children, "it’s just a really fun job, and just getting to work with kids and families as what you do for a living is rewarding.”
Cronk said those attending the job fair should come prepared.
“Come prepared, come ready to talk about the available jobs, have your resume, be ready to meet with potential employers, they may even sit down and talk to you right then and there about their available opportunities,” said Cronk.
The event includes two segments —a high school career exploration and a job fair. The career exploration segment will be held from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., followed by the job fair from 11:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
During career exploration, high school juniors and seniors can meet with employers as they learn about a variety of career opportunities, career paths and types of jobs available at individual businesses, as well as job shadowing, apprenticeships, internships and summer and year-round jobs.