The Island’s most eligible employers and employees gathered at the MVRHS cafeteria Saturday for the second annual Martha’s Vineyard Job and Volunteer Fair. The three-hour event was a window into the employment market, for both seasonal and year-round positions. With summer on the horizon, now’s the time to be looking.
Over 45 employers and nonprofits set up booths lining the cafeteria, and hundreds of Islanders ages 14 and up filtered in and out throughout the morning. Coffee, pastries, and pizza were served to keep it all going, and an alpaca was there for good measure.
The event was made possible by Islander India Rose, who has a passion for business and entrepreneurship. Her company, Hustle and Thrive, works with small businesses to help them launch and grow. She has two kids, and a strict house rule.
“When you can work, you work,” Rose said in an interview with The Times.
The legal working age is 14 years old, according to the Massachusetts Youth Employment Laws. Rose arranged workshops leading up to the job fair to help prepare the younger population of job seekers.
MVRHS students could sign up for Rose’s “Customer Service Workshop,” which took place during the high school’s flex periods.
“A job isn’t about just showing up, scooping ice cream, and being miserable,” Rose said. “Providing good customer service goes a long way, and can lead to really great connections and letters of recommendation.”
Rose also held a résumé workshop on Tuesday, April 3, and helped individuals polish and put together CVs to bring to Saturday’s event.
Just about all genres of employment were at Saturday’s event, including hotels, restaurants, retail shops, nonprofits, catering companies — you name it. On-the-spot interviews were conducted, information was exchanged, and in some cases, decisions were made.
“I wish we could take on everyone,” Lorraine Earle of Johnny Cupcakes in Oak Bluffs said. “But after today, I’m pretty certain I’ve filled the two part-time positions.”
High schoolers were encouraged to attend Saturday’s job fair, and employers were impressed.
“I’ve had really confident 14- and 15-year-olds approach me today,” MV Allston owner Erica Belle said. “It’s smart to start young.” MV Allston is a retail shop on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs. Belle is hiring seasonal and year-round staff in retail, ecommerce, and as operation associates and brand ambassadors.
It’s Ismail Samad’s first season as executive chef of Kitchen Porch Catering, and he attended the job fair in search of prep cooks, servers, porters, and maintenance crew. He’s recruiting all ages, and more than 10 people signed up with interest within the first hour.
Patricia Floyd, director of human resources at the Kelley House, has seasonal and year-round job opportunities for all ages in both the hotel and restaurant. “We have flexibility, high standards, and big hearts,” Floyd said. “We want our employees to catch the flame of what we’re trying to do. And if we’ve stood out to anybody today, call me Monday.”
The Vineyard Golf Club is looking to hire high schoolers for kitchen staff. “We’re looking for people who’d ideally return every summer,” Executive Chef Anthony Rabeni said.
Cape Cod Five Bank is looking to hire a financial service representative. The position is full-time and year-round, and for high school graduates. “It’s cash handling and bank teller work,” human resources representative Elaine Sweeney said.
Vacasca Marketing, a vacation rental organization, had a booth set up and were recruiting housekeepers to help manage their 51 homes on-Island.
J.B. Blau, owner of Sharky’s, Copper Wok, M.V. Chowder Co., and the Loft, was there to support the community. He’s pretty much staffed for the season, but is always interested in seeing who’s around.
“We only offer jobs to people over 18,” Blau said. “If we can meet one or two interested individuals today, it’s well worth it.”
The Vineyard Nursing Association is looking for year-round aides, homemakers, nurses, and physical therapists. Saturday’s event brought them in touch with one prospect by noon.
Heidi Feldman, owner of MV Sea Salt, was at the job fair doing some reverse recruiting. “We try to get MV Sea Salt into as many kitchens as possible,” Friedman said. “What better time to talk to Island chefs?”
The Harbor View is hiring all kinds of full-time and part-time seasonal positions. Training manager Zach Niemi described availability in front desk work, housekeeping, serving, and recreation attendants.
“This is my first job fair on-Island, and it’s been good to see so many members of the community come by. And it’s been nice to chat with some of the other employers,” Niemi said. “I’m getting pumped for the season.”
The Trustees of Reservations is hiring high school interns, seasonal summer workers, and volunteers across all seven properties. They’re looking for any and all ages.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is looking for volunteers 18 and up, and according to J.R. Mell, their biggest need is male volunteers. The nonprofit distributed hats and water bottles to draw in prospects.
Island Alpaca and the Red Cross are two other Island nonprofits looking for seasonal and year-round volunteers.
Swordfish Enterprises, which owns Menemsha Inn, Beach Plum Inn, and the Home Port Restaurant, received a bunch of résumés at Saturday’s event. General manager Joel Scheveck said the properties are in the most need of line cooks after the H2-B visas impacted their usual influx of help.
“It’s been harder to find recruits,” Scheveck said, “Especially being located up-Island. But this event is great. It’s putting us in touch with interested prospects.”
The Edgartown Yacht Club is hiring waitstaff, snackbar staff, and line cooks. “These are really lucrative positions,” dining room manager Grace Guck said. “We’ve gotten quite a few applications today.”
“My mom told me about the job fair, and I’m glad I came,” high school junior Moriah Donahue said. “I’d love to get a job working with kids.”
“I’m overwhelmed by the number of people here,” Friedman said. “My voice is getting hoarse.”
The second annual Job Fair was sponsored by Cape Cod Community College and the Edgartown Boathouse.