San Diego’s first ever Career Crawl took place in North Park on June 13. This “job fair alternative” brought job seekers directly to employers with a self-guided walking tour. The event played to the uniqueness of North Park to help young adults engage with local business owners, learn about new industries, explore entrepreneurship and gain employment. There were 69 job seekers and 16 businesses who participated in the event.
The Career Crawl was designed wholly with these participants in mind. For job seekers, face-to-face interaction and in-person interviews result in a higher likelihood of being hired. For small businesses, it is nearly impossible to leave your business to attend a traditional job fair or hiring event to find your next employee. So we brought the job fair to them and equipped job seekers with tools to make the best first impression possible.
North Park was an ideal neighborhood to kick off the Career Crawl concept because of its abundance of small businesses and central location for job seekers. Union Cowork graciously offered up their courtyard as “home base” and North Park Main Street spread the word to businesses—even facilitating a donation from Target for refreshments.
When young adults checked in at Union Cowork, they received resume building and review, elevator pitch practice and mock interviews as well as padfolios and professional clothing from Banana Republic, Gap, H&M and various North Park businesses.
Some of the young people arrived in casual clothing. As they changed into their blazers and button downs the transformation was undeniable. The simple act of changing into professional clothing gave them the confidence boost needed to network with employers.
Entrepreneurship was a big theme of the day as attendees had direct access to small business owners. “I want to own my own clothing boutique someday,” said 16-year-old Paula. “I’m excited to meet with RAE Boutique and see what it takes to run a storefront.” “If I were to open a business, it would be a nonprofit,” said Jacob. “That’s why I’m interested in learning from SD Rescue.”
While hiring outcomes are not yet available, interviews were scheduled on site and employers expressed plans to hire from the candidates they met.
The team is planning to hold additional Career Crawls in other San Diego County neighborhoods this year.