It is the official opening of the National Urban League Convention Job Fair. This year it is partnering with the Black Women's Expo.
The organizations joined forces to help Chicagoans trying to survive and thrive in this economy.
"If you're looking for solutions for a city that has produced so much talent and leadership in the African-American community, this is the place to be," said Cheryle Jackson, Chicago Urban League President & C.E.O.
This is the first time the Urban League Convention has been in Chicago for 30 years. The theme is the Path to Power.
"People want solutions and they want their own path the power and this conference creates tools for them, solutions for them, ways in which they can connect," said Marc Morial, National Urban League President & C.E.O.
The convention brings exhibitors, recruiters and panelists armed with information to help attendees find success.
The National Association of African-Americans in human resources estimates more than 70 percent of human resources staffers have been laid off in the last year and a half.
At the convention they offer help to job seekers.
"You almost have to take those skills that you learned in other areas and redevelop those skills so that you can make yourself more marketable in the industry," said Airies Davis, Nationall Association of African Americans in Human Resources.
Tariq Harris is a project engineer who was recently laid off. His interest is in the aero space industry but he is looking at other industries.
"This gives you a good chance to network with the actual individuals who are representating these companies," said Harris.
Karin Dawkins lost her job as a property manager. It forced her to explore her options. She became licensed to sell insurance and a side business is doing well, so well she's an exhibitor at the expo.
"I'm still helping people and it's making me money, subsidizing my income. And I like it even better," said Dawkins.
The convention aims to connect job seekers, encourage entrepreneurs and empower all attendees to pursue their paths to power.
For more on this year's conference and job fair, please visit the following Web sites:
National Conference link: www.nul.org/2009conference
Chicago Urban League: http://www.thechicagourbanleague.org