Take this Job and Love It!

Nine credit unions participated in Portland’s first- ever cooperative career Fair organized by Unitus Community Credit Union.

9/11/18

Unitus Community Credit Union employee speaks to job fair attendee.

Martha Kluver, Employment Specialist with Unitus Community Credit Union, speaks to a visitor during the job fair.

Steven Stapp, President and CEO of Portland-based Unitus Community Credit Union, remembers the day he looked out of his office window at a for-profit bank’s high-rise tower and had an inspired thought.

What if, he wondered, we could inform bank employees about how fulfilling it is to work for not-for-profit, cooperative credit unions?

That daydream became reality last week when several local credit unions participated in a cooperative career fair in downtown Portland.

It wasn’t a hard sell. Gayle Evans, Chief Human Resources Officer and SVP for Unitus, went to work inviting her local counterparts. In short order, eight other local credit unions were “all in” for the first-ever Portland-Metro Credit Union Career Fair, held Sept. 7.

The fair’s theme, “Take This Job and LOVE IT!” generated more than 3,000 views online and more than 150 pre-registrations by local professionals. The fair was held during the busy lunch hour on Unitus’ downtown plaza, further boosting same-day registration.

Job candidates were impressed by the diversity of opportunities, and by the stories of credit union leaders such as Point West President and CEO Amy Nelson, who talked about starting her CU career as an administrative assistant and working her way up.

Jason Werts, Unitus’ Chief Operating Officer, joined the Credit Union Movement 12 years ago. He came from a large bank.

“I had a friend who said I should check out working for a credit union,” Werts said. “It was the best professional advice I’d ever been given.”

Credit unions, Werts said, are well positioned to help people save, to buy their first homes, to send children to college.

Job fair attendee visits with employees from Advantis Credit Union.

A job fair attendee visits with employees from Advantis Credit Union.

“Being able to be part of those moments in their lives can be very inspiring and rewarding,” Werts noted, adding community impact is another way employees make a difference.

Rebecca Gring, Recruiting Specialist for Rivermark Community Credit Union, pointed out employees are paid to do volunteer work in the community, and that credit union benefits are generous.

For two hours, the plaza buzzed as applicants learned about open positions and shared resumes. Quiet sitting areas were available for applicants to go through interviews while on site — a rare opportunity at a career fair.

Joining Unitus in presenting the Cooperative Career Fair were:

  • Advantis Credit Union
  • Clackamas Federal Credit Union
  • First Tech Federal Credit Union
  • iQ Credit Union
  • Point West Credit Union
  • Rivermark Community Credit Union
  • SELCO Community Credit Union
  • Trailhead Credit Union

    Check-in tent for the Portland-Metro Credit Union Career Fair.

    The check-in tent for the Portland-Metro Credit Union Career Fair.

The Northwest Credit Union Association, Young Credit Union Professionals (YCUP), and BankWork$ were also on hand for the inaugural cooperative career fair.

Both Stapp and Evans see a future for this event in Portland and beyond.

“I’d say this was a wonderful success,” Evans said. “We are part of an extended family, and this is a great way to show how credit unions are part of a cooperative movement that’s an inspiration to be part of, as an employee or as a member.”

Editor’s note: Interested in organizing a cooperative career fair with credit unions in your area? Gayle Evans is happy to share best practices. Email her at: gevans@unitusccu.com.