People of Color Job Fair held at Convention Center

Tamara Mattison came straight from her temporary job working at the airport and posed for her free head shot to help in her professional marketing before going into the People of Color Job Fair.

The fair, held Tuesday at the Minneapolis Convention Center, is aimed at closing the gap in unemployment rates between minorities and whites.

“I’ve been a part of that unemployment for a long time,” Mattison said, “especially the past 10 years, so I have my PhD, and I have a hard time finding work. So, I knew about the disparity.”

The fair was created by Sharon Smith-Akinsaya, who cited statistics from the Department of Employment and Economic Development as reason to hold the event.

“If Minnesota’s going to remain a great place to live, work and play for everybody, we gotta fix it,” Smith-Akinsaya said.

According to the department, white unemployment as of August is at 2.9 percent, while black unemployment is at 8 percent.

“It’s the same thing with education, it’s the same thing with poverty, it’s the same thing with healthcare,” Smith-Akinsaya said. “So, we’ve got issues in Minnesota, and this is one I wanted to address because there’s nothing more important than a job.”

Governor Mark Dayton stopped by the event to greet people at the state’s job booth and to encourage minorities to work for the government.

LC McCoy came to the event with a friend and ended up landing something himself.

“I came in here with zero expectations,” he said. “I interview well, I’m very confident, I come from a great environment, but also know that when people see a heavier set black man, that they may have some tendency to kind of look elsewhere.”