A biannual job fair in Grande Prairie, Alta., broke records this week, with more recruiters from more industries than ever before.
“It’s grown immensely in the past couple of years,” said Melissa Coulombe with Wave Media, the organization behind the job fair.
The event has run twice a year, in spring and fall, for 15 years.
On Tuesday, 55 employers set up booths to recruit workers — compared to 16 employers at the spring job fair two years ago.
“I think this is a reflection of the economy right now,” Coulombe said. “There’s just more jobs available in the region right now and we’re seeing that here by the demand for people.”
The event attracted a record number of new vendors this year, Coloumbe said, including Canada Post and the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Greg Bartolotta, who manages one of two Home Hardware stores in Grande Prairie, set up a booth for the first time on Tuesday.
“The economy is picking up in Grande Prairie,” Bartolotta said.
“It’s been difficult getting staff the traditional way, through our website and through Kijiji. We think this will be one of the more effective ways to get employees.”
While the number of recruiters that aren’t involved in the energy industry is increasing, Coulombe said the majority of jobs are still in the trades.
Roughly 70 per cent of the booths on Tuesday were run by energy companies, including long-time participant Trican Well Service.
Chad Marthaller, the company’s assistant base manager for Grande Prairie, said the fair is a key recruitment tool for positions such as heavy-duty mechanics and Class 1 drivers.
The city lost many of its Class 1 drivers during the economic downturn four years ago, Marthaller said. Most haven’t returned, he added.
“It seems like the Class 1 drivers don’t exist anymore,” Marthaller said.
“Since 2014, when everything did crash, people have gone away and I don’t think they’re that excited to jump back in because they’re uncertain right now on what’s actually going to happen.”
‘It’s an employees’ market’
Rick Carson, who has worked in the transportation industry for decades, left his resumé with companies, including Trican Well Service.
He moved to Grande Prairie three years ago but said he lost his position as a result of the economic downturn. Tuesday’s job fair presented an opportunity to change careers, Carson said.
“It’s an employees’ market here,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to have everyone under one roof and you can decide who you want to work for.”
Carson joined hundreds of job-seekers on Tuesday, combing the job fair booths with resumés in hand.
Adham Alhutheily drove to Grande Prairie from Calgary to attend the event. He recently graduated from the University of Calgary with a degree in economics.
“It’s a good chance for unemployed [people] to have a job,” Alhutheily said. “If I find a job here, I might stay here.”
Others have already made the move permanently to Grande Prairie, encouraged by the promise of work.
Andrew Sokpo settled in the city after spotting several roadside and storefront signs seeking employees during a trip through Grande Prairie last year.
“I moved to Grande Prairie about a month ago for the new jobs that are opening up,” Sokpo said. “Oil is picking up again and there are quite some jobs coming up in the area and I’m really excited.”
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Edmonton Alberta News Headlines
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Edmonton /ˈɛdməntən/ (About this sound listen) is the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta. Edmonton is on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, which is surrounded by Alberta’s central region. The city anchors the north end of what Statistics Canada defines as the “Calgary–Edmonton Corridor”.
The city had a population of 932,546 in 2016, making it Alberta’s second-largest city and Canada’s fifth-largest municipality. Also in 2016, Edmonton had a metropolitan population of 1,321,426, making it the sixth-largest census metropolitan area (CMA) in Canada. Edmonton is North America’s northernmost city that has a metropolitan population over one million. A resident of Edmonton is known as an Edmontonian.
Edmonton’s historic growth has been facilitated through the absorption of five adjacent urban municipalities (Strathcona, North Edmonton, West Edmonton, Beverly and Jasper Place) and a series of annexations ending in 1982.[ Known as the “Gateway to the North”, the city is a staging point for large-scale oil sands projects occurring in northern Alberta and large-scale diamond mining operations in the Northwest Territories.
Edmonton is a cultural, governmental and educational centre. It hosts a year-round slate of festivals, reflected in the nickname “Canada’s Festival City”. It is home to North America’s largest mall, West Edmonton Mall (the world’s largest mall from 1981 until 2004), and Fort Edmonton Park, Canada’s largest living history museum.
Further information: History of Edmonton and Timeline of Edmonton history
The earliest known inhabitants settled in the area that is now Edmonton around 3,000 BC and perhaps as early as 12,000 BC, when an ice-free corridor opened as the last glacial period ended and timber, water, and wildlife became available in the region.
In 1754, Anthony Henday, an explorer for the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), may have been the first European to enter the Edmonton area. His expeditions across the Canadian Prairies were mainly to seek contact with the aboriginal population for establishing the fur trade, as competition was fierce between the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company. By 1795, Fort Edmonton was established on the river’s north bank as a major trading post for the Hudson’s Bay Company. The new fort’s name was suggested by John Peter Pruden after Edmonton, London, the home town of both the HBC deputy governor Sir James Winter Lake, and Pruden.
In 1876, Treaty 6, which includes what is now Edmonton, was signed between the Aboriginal peoples in Canada (or First Nations) and Queen Victoria as Queen of Canada, as part of the Numbered Treaties of Canada. The agreement includes the Plains and Woods Cree, Assiniboine, and other band governments of First Nations at Fort Carlton, Fort Pitt and Battle River. The area covered by the treaty represents most of the central area of the current provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta.
The coming of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) to southern Alberta in 1885 helped the Edmonton economy, and the 1891 building of the Calgary and Edmonton (C&E) Railway resulted in the emergence of a railway townsite (South Edmonton/Strathcona) on the river’s south side, across from Edmonton. The arrival of the CPR and the C&E Railway helped bring settlers and entrepreneurs from eastern Canada, Europe, U.S. and other parts of the world. The Edmonton area’s fertile soil and cheap land attracted settlers, further establishing Edmonton as a major regional commercial and agricultural centre. Some people participating in the Klondike Gold Rush passed through South Edmonton/Strathcona in 1897. Strathcona was North America’s northernmost railway point, but travel to the Klondike was still very difficult for the “Klondikers”, and a majority of them took a steamship north to the Yukon from Vancouver, British Columbia.
Jasper Avenue, ca. 1907
Incorporated as a town in 1892 with a population of 700 and then as a city in 1904 with a population of 8,350, Edmonton became the capital of Alberta when the province was formed a year later, on September 1, 1905. In November 1905, the Canadian Northern Railway (CNR) arrived in Edmonton, accelerating growth.
During the early 1900s, Edmonton’s rapid growth led to speculation in real estate. In 1912, Edmonton amalgamated with the City of Strathcona, south of the North Saskatchewan River; as a result, the city extended south of the North Saskatchewan River for the first time.
Just prior to World War I, the boom ended, and the city’s population declined from more than 72,000 in 1914 to less than 54,000 only two years later. Many impoverished families moved to subsistence farms outside the city, while others fled to greener pastures in other provinces. Recruitment to the Canadian army during the war also contributed to the drop in population. Afterwards, the city slowly recovered in population and economy during the 1920s and 1930s and took off again during and after World War II.
The Edmonton City Centre Airport opened in 1929, becoming Canada’s first licensed airfield.Originally named Blatchford Field in honour of former mayor Kenny Blatchford, pioneering aviators such as Wilfrid R. “Wop” May and Max Ward used Blatchford Field as a major base for distributing mail, food, and medicine to Northern Canada; hence Edmonton’s emergence as the “Gateway to the North”. World War II saw Edmonton become a major base for the construction of the Alaska Highway and the Northwest Staging Route.
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