51 employers scheduled 237 interviews for inaugural event

Cookeville – The Highlands Economic Partnership (HEP) inaugural CareerFest had the objective of filling as many open positions as possible and supporting local startup ventures.  With 237 interviews held and 748 job seekers researching 51 employers, that objective just may have been met.

CareerFest was made possible by the Three Star Grant from the State of Tennessee as well as HEP community partners: Tennessee Valley Authority, VFairs and the Biz Foundry.

“The Biz Foundry is thrilled to have partnered with the Highlands on our first Annual StartHere Pitch contest,” said Jeff Brown, President of the Biz Foundry. “The quality of the startups was phenomenal, proving that you can indeed Start Here.” 

The goal of the event was to engage workforce talent from across the United States by leveraging technology to provide a fully immersive hiring interaction for employers and employees, both in-person and virtually. Additionally, the Biz Foundry created a platform for start-up ventures to pitch ideas for a cash prize and future opportunity at further financial development opportunities.

“We are eager to support our industry partners by facilitating opportunities like CareerFest for our businesses to interact with talent from across the United States,” noted Amy New, President and CEO of the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce. “We are looking forward to building on this program for many years to come.”

CareerFest saw 748 job-seekers participate in the one-day event. 351 were soon-to-be graduates from local high schools identified as work-ready graduates. There were 237 job interviews scheduled with 51 employers participating.

There were nine start-up concepts submitted for the Start Here Pitch Competition. The winner received a $10,000 first-place prize.  

“The Highlands Economic Partnership provides opportunities for businesses to grow and prosper,” Vice President of the Highlands Economic Partnership, Adam Poe said. “Connecting our employers to a talented workforce is imperative to our ability to scale regionally. We could not be more excited about the results of our first event and are looking forward to the event next year.”

Photo provided by HEP.

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