FCEDA virtual career fair initiative wins prestigious economic development award

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the largest organization for economic development organizations and professionals, honored the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) with a 2020 Excellence in Economic Development Gold Award in digital media for communities with more than 500,000 residents. The IEDC announced winners of its awards October 15 during its annual conference.

The FCEDA received the award – the sixth IEDC award it has won and the first Gold Award since 2012 – for the May 28 “Operation Retain Gen Z-Recent Grad Virtual Career Fair.”

When the coronavirus began to rapidly spread throughout the U.S. in March, the FCEDA pivoted its in-person talent-event plans to go completely virtual. The goal was to connect Gen Z job seekers to Northern Virginia companies that were hiring amid the pandemic. While many entry-level job offers and internships were rescinded for the class of 2020 and colleges cancelled career fairs, many companies in the Northern Virginia tech hub still had a need for fresh talent.

The May 28 virtual career fair – a digital platform where job-seekers can connect and network with companies – resulted in almost 1,000 attendees, more than 900 completed conversations between recruiters and job seekers, the attendance of 13 companies with thousands of open jobs, and representation of more than 30 colleges and universities in the mid-Atlantic region including seven historically Black colleges and universities. The event also generated significant interest from regional news outlets.

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by our economic development peers with an IEDC Gold Award,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the FCEDA. “Connecting college graduates with hiring companies is always a worthwhile goal, but the pandemic created an emergency and the virtual technology gave us a way to address it efficiently for nearly 1,000 people. I am so proud of everyone at the FCEDA and our partners who helped to create this initiative.”

Click here to see a video about the talent initiative and the award.

The virtual career fairs are a signature element of an FCEDA talent initiative funded by the Fairfax County government in 2019. More than 4,000 job-seekers have attended FCEDA virtual job fairs so far.

The goal of the talent initiative is to attract, retain, retrain and grow talent and connect job-seekers with Northern Virginia companies that are hiring. Even during the pandemic, there are more than 42,000 open jobs in Fairfax County and more than 80,000 in the Northern Virginia region. The website that the FCEDA created to attract talent, www.workinnorthernvirginia.com, highlights the diverse lifestyles of 10 communities in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., and includes features such as a community quiz, a company cluster map and a cost-of-living calculator that compares Northern Virginia with other tech centers in the United States.

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority promotes Fairfax County as a business and technology center. In addition to its headquarters in Tysons, Fairfax County’s largest business district, the FCEDA maintains business investment offices in six important global business centers: Bangalore/Mumbai, Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Seoul and Tel Aviv. Follow the FCEDA on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

The FCEDA is a member of the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance. Other members of NOVA EDA are the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, Arlington County, City of Fairfax, City of Falls Church, Fauquier County, Loudoun County, City of Manassas, City of Manassas Park and the Prince William County Department of Economic Development.

IEDC is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders.

“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the very best of economic development and exemplify the ingenuity, integrity, and leadership that our profession strives for each and every day”, said 2020 IEDC Board Chair and One Columbus CEO Kenny McDonald. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing campaigns, projects and partnerships have measurably improved regional quality of life.”

October 19, 2020

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