The City of Fresno is partnering with the Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board (Workforce-Connection) to host a job fair this Friday, aimed towards assisting former Bitwise employees find employment following the tech company’s high-profile fall from grace late last month.
The job fair is scheduled outside Fresno City Hall from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., and will serve to assist the more than 400 families impacted by the recent closure of the tech company.
“The goal really is to turn something that was very evil into something that is very, very good,” Dyer said during a press conference Friday. “We want to demonstrate our support today for the more than 400 Bitwise employees that call Fresno home who abruptly got furloughed, as we all know.”
Dyer went on to say that the way Bitwise Industries shuttered its doors was unusual not in just the city or state, but throughout the country, locking email accounts and discontinuing all communications with past employees, in addition to the unexpected loss of both jobs and benefits.
Diane Jensen, Workforce Connection’s government relations coordinator, said that as of Monday afternoon, 47 businesses and/or organizations will be participating in the fair, including Trillium Flow Technologies, Producers Dairy, Excelsior Inc., Fowler Packing and Mid Valley Disposal, as well as several city and government agencies including Central and Fresno Unified School districts, State Center Community College District and the City of Fresno itself.
“Our goal, of course, is to get all of our Bitwise employees working again,” Jensen said. “From the number of employees I don’t think that would be too far fetched if we have the match.”
Jensen said that the variety of employee specializations that former Bitwise employees display will help to fill a large number of available positions.
Workforce-Connection’s Rapid Response team assists recently furloughed or laid off employees, but Jensen said that due to the lack of a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act filing, the urgency of the situation is unprecedented.
The California WARN Act requires employers with 100 or more employees to provide 60-days notice prior to mass layoffs and furloughs.
According to reports, Bitwise did not file any WARN Act notice prior to last month’s furloughs — prompting a class-action lawsuit from some employees filed last week.
“Our goal with Rapid Response is to get them employed within 45 days of their layoff,” she said. “When we have that advance notice, we can provide them with the resources.”
Several businesses and organizations, including BCT Consulting and the City of Fresno, have voiced their support and interest in former Bitwise employees.
“Our hearts go out to all those who have been impacted by this unfortunate event, as we recognize the challenges faced when unexpected changes disrupt lives and careers,” said BCT Consulting Founder and CEO Eric Rawn in a press release Friday.
Rawn added that BCT Consulting is in the process of expansion and would like to extend an invitation to former employees to apply for positions with the Fresno-based IT support and web design company.
“We, as a City, will also have many of our departments that will be here as well offering jobs to people,” Dyer said. “We have several hundred jobs that are open and if there’s a way that we can match skillsets…we want to take advantage of that and hire these Bitwise employees.”
Friday’s job fair, while geared toward former Bitwise employees, is open to all Fresno and Fresno County residents.
“It’s not just for Bitwise employees,” Jensen said. “Anyone in the Fresno area or Fresno County — if they’re looking for work, come out. There are so many opportunities.”
In addition to the job fair, Workforce-Connection will also host resume and interview workshops at its 1455 E. Shaw Ave. office on Tuesday to assist prospective employees with on-the-spot training. A resume writing workshop will run from 9 a.m.-noon, with interview prep workshops scheduled from 1 p.m.-3 p.m.