Community job fair to be held at Waterfront Place

By Tiffany Morgan, The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — “I’m just volunteering.”

Support is a message that Frank Vitale is aspiring to offer to the community.

Vitale, president and CEO of Forge Business Solutions, and member of the West Virginia Board of Education, has organized a North Central West Virginia Community Job Fair to be held Wednesday at the Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place. It will consist of a workshop from 9-11:30 a.m. and the fair itself from 2-6 p.m., which will provide an opportunity for people to connect with businesses in the area.

“I’ve worked in the community for a long time here, and I just felt like it was a good way to use my skills,” Vitale said. “I have put on job fairs in the past, so I have some experience with this. I’m also a former chairman of the (Morgantown Area) Chamber of Commerce, and I thought I would put my business contacts to use to try to help people out.”

Vitale said the fair was made possible with help from the community, including WVU’s business department, as well as the hotel, where it will be held.

“It’s at the waterfront hotel, and that’s another critical partner we have,” Vitale said. “There are two critical partners — WVU College of Business and Economics and Waterfront hotel, because without them donating space, we wouldn’t have it.”

Vitale decided to create and host a job fair in order to give back to the community and provide an opportunity for those who have been affected by recent layoffs with Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Elder Beerman that will be closing its local retail outlet by the end of June, and other industries such as the mines and Swanson Industries.

“I’ve contacted (Monongalia County Commission President) Tom Bloom and said, ‘I really think we need to step up and help these people and we need to do it quickly,’ because anxiety kind of sets in and people get concerned,” Vitale said. “We often deal in percentages and numbers, but these are people. He said, ‘Yeah, whatever you need,’ and really that’s just support.”

In addition to support from Bloom, Vitale contacted others in the community to bring the event to life.

“I started contacting key businesses in the community to find out if they needed to do any hiring, and I was blown away by the number of employers who are hiring and need to hire a skilled work force,” Vitale said.

“These are very highly skilled people, not only at Mylan but many other places as well. They’ve had great training, great skills and we want to redeploy those skills in the region so we don’t lose their talent and lose them and their families.”

Vitale got in contact with the Javier Reyes, dean of the WVU College of Business and Economics, to provide a workshop on how to be technologically-savvy when applying for jobs, brushing up on interviewing and building a résumé.

“I contacted Dean Javier Reyes, the dean of the College of Business and Economics, and said, ‘Look, in addition to the job fair I’d like to put on a workshop. I’d like to provide some training or help improve their skills, things like interview skills,” Vitale said. “He said ‘absolutely, we’re in.’ ”

Vitale added that another supporter for the fair is Cris DeBoard, vice president of human resources at WVU, who, Vitale said, “stepped up and said ‘Yep, WVU will help you put this together.’ ”
According to Vitale, the job fair is projected to have over 35 businesses in attendance. Vitale created the fair without a budget — just the help of the community, himself included.

“We have no budget. Not one dollar has been spent on this. Not one dollar,” Vitale said. “It’s a great testament to our community that people are stepping up so strongly.”