November 22, 2016
Two bands with local ties and at least 46 job openings are on tap so far for Friday’s “Home for the Holidays” annual concert and job fair.
The bands Mission in the Rain and Bear Mountain Picnic will be featured at the concert, which is organized by Arts at the Rives Theater (ART). The music will start at 9 p.m. at the Rives Theater in uptown Martinsville.
This year for the first time, the concert is merging with the “Home for the Holidays” job fair, held annually by the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce. Anyone who attends the job fair between 7 and 8 p.m. and registers to receive periodic employment updates will get in to the concert for free.
That hour will be an informal “meet and greet” time for visitors to learn about available jobs, network with other residents and discuss the benefits of living in Martinsville and Henry County.
Some of that information also is available on a website. The site, welcomehomemhc.com, listed 46 jobs available in the region as of Monday, and Philip Wenkstern, project manager for the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board, said he expects that list will grow before Friday’s event.
The list includes positions ranging from firefighter and corrections officer to mental health support specialist and Upward Bound advisor and instructor. The jobs mainly were culled from those registered with the Virginia Employment Commission and requiring bachelor’s, associate or other professional degrees, Wenkstern said.
Staff members will be present to show the website and discuss employment opportunities, Wenkstern said. Everything will be electronic, with applicants clicking on jobs they are interested in, downloading their resumes and other information for employers, and then checking a box requesting periodic employment updates.
Those who check that box will get into the concert without charge, he added.
The site’s use will not be limited to local residents or people attending the concert, he said. It is being marketed now.
“Its purpose is to raise awareness about the opportunities in our community. The more people accessing the website the better,” he has said, whether they are home for the holidays or viewing the website from outside the area.
The “Home for the Holidays” concert has long attracted local college graduates who now live in other areas and are home visiting for Thanksgiving. Organizers hope that the website and job fair will help those people and others realize that there are good jobs available locally as well as a favorable cost of living, low real estate costs and cultural entertainment, according to a proposal for a Harvest Foundation Pick Up the Pace! grant that was awarded for the event.
“I think there will be a fair number of people there” for the concert, and hopefully they will attend the job fair, Wenkstern said.
Both bands at the concert have local ties. Mission in the Rain is a group of High Country musicians from North Carolina celebrating the music of The Jerry Garcia Band, according to the ART website. Founded in the fall of 2015, this Boone, N.C.-based band features members Jonathan Priest, Toma Fuller, Brandon Holder and Slate Lacy.
Mission in the Rain also performed at a Rooster Walk 8 concert last summer in Henry County.
Bear Mountain Picnic will reunite for its first show in years. The band, comprising young Martinsville natives, formed while they were students at Martinsville High School more than four years ago, according to the ART website.
For those not registering through the job fair, tickets for the concert cost $12 in advance and $15 on the day of show. Online tickets will be available at rivestheatre.org and locally at the Daily Grind and Rising Sun Breads.
The West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board collaborated with Arts at the Rives Theater and the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce on Friday’s event.
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