9th annual Black Women’s Expo and Job Fair
by A. David Dahmer
Genesis Social Services Corporation (GSSC) is once again sponsoring its 9th annual Black Women’s Expo and Job Fair Saturday, Nov. 15, at the Genesis Center on Madison’s south side.
“Black women are probably are the most discriminated against group in this city,” says Dr. Richard Harris, president of GSSC. “Almost 30 percent of the black women in Madison are unemployed. They face quite a bit of discrimination in public and private employment. It’s also tough for them because they don’t have the networks that white people do that helps them get those jobs. The main questions I get from women all the time are: where are the jobs? And where do I apply?
“So the Black Women’s Expo is a great chance to network,” he adds. “It will give women the chance to sit down and talk with people that can help them a great deal and can link them to the people they will need to know. It’s a great resource for women in so many ways.”
Sponsors of the event will include Aprilaire, Madison Gas and Electric, Wegner LLP, UW Credit Union, and Unity Health Services. Katrice Ragland, a Dane County jobs service counselor, will have a list of the up-to-date jobs situation in Dane County as of Nov. 14.
“At the job fair, we will be going through the list of all the jobs that we have and what the requirements are,” Harris says. “We will talk to the women about the importance of using the Internet and show them how they can access possible jobs if they don’t have the Internet. The sites that we use are Madison College’s south campus, the south Madison Library, or the Dane County Job Service office on Adberg Avenue.
“Access to the Internet is so important,” Harris adds. “Very few companies take hand-written stuff these days. Most of the people that I work with, unfortunately, do not have access to a computer.”
Traditionally, the Black Women’s Expo and Job Fair focused on many different issues facing black women today. The main focus this year will be jobs although there were be people at the event who can lead women to other resources whether it be education, housing, health care, or other concerns. It’s a great opportunity to network and to find out about other resources that are available. “Yes, we are focusing on jobs this year at the Expo, but in other important fields we will be able to point women in the right direction whether it be for education, housing, health care or other resources they might need,” Harris says. “This is a great opportunity for women to get together and be around women who are facing the same struggles they are and having people here who will be able to help them. It’s a place for black women to network, talk, and discuss, and to get their self-confidence and self-esteem back up again.”
Melly Mel's will once again cater the event providing delicious food including fried catfish and chicken, greens, cornbread, and peach cobbler.
“It’s a rather quiet event… we don’t do a lot of hoopla. But it’s a very important event,” Harris says. “In the past five years, the Black Women’s Expo and Job Fair has helped place over 111 black women in either full- or part-time jobs.
“A lot of women that come to this event have really been struggling. They are raising kids … some are in homeless shelters. Kids might be having problems in school,” he adds. “There’s a wide range of issues these women are facing. The first step for these women is getting a job and that’s what we are here to help with.”
Genesis Social Services Corporation (GSSC) will host the 9th annual Black Women’s Expo and Job Fair Saturday, Nov. 15, 7:30 a.m.-noon at the Genesis Center on Madison’s south side. For more information, call Dr. Richard Harris at 255-5842.
Tickets are $10, but there are a number of reduced priced tickets available. Ticket price includes breakfast and lunch.