AUBURN HILLS — Economic development departments from cities across Oakland County have again joined forces to present a high-tech job fair that connects Southeast Michigan job seekers with businesses from throughout the county that have immediate job openings in technology, engineering and other skilled areas.

“Oakland Job Hub 2012: Where Oakland Employers Meet Southeast Michigan Job Seekers’ is returning following a successful debut in 2011 and will be held n Thursday, Feb. 23 at Oakland University.

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Laurie Johnson, Auburn Hills’ economic development coordinator, said the Job Hub is back because Oakland County employers continue to have a pressing need to hire skilled workers.

“With 78 employers participating in the 2011 Job Hub, we had to turn additional employers away,” Johnson said. “While technical positions are abundant in Oakland County, it can be a challenge to find qualified candidates.  My economic development colleagues and I are aggressively working to connect area businesses with job seekers who possess skills in technology and engineering and are interested in long-term employment. Plus, we want to bring former residents back home to Michigan, the true Mitten State!”

In addition to Auburn Hills, participating communities include Rochester, Rochester Hills, Madison Heights, Southfield, Troy, Farmington Hills and Novi, as well as Oakland County Michigan Works, Oakland Community College, Lawrence Technological University and host sponsor, Oakland University.

Oakland Job Hub 2012 employer participants do not need to be based in these cities; nor do career fair participants. The event is open to the first 80 qualified companies that have immediate full-time job openings to fill in Southeast Michigan. They must have several jobs to fill over the next year to participate and are required to staff a table for the duration of the event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.. There is a $125 charge for employers to participate but no charge for job applicants.

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Nik Banda, Director of Community and Economic Development for Rochester, is also involved in planning the Job Hub 2012.

“Last year’s inaugural event ran flawlessly, thanks to the collaboration among city organizers, sponsors and host sponsor, Oakland University,” Banda said. “We are seeking employers to commit to the Job Hub now to ensure another stellar event in 2012.”

Pre-registration for interested companies is required; registration begins on Jan. 10 and can be found online at Companies will be reviewed by the organizers and notified by Jan. 28 if they have been selected to participate. Staffing companies may not participate in Oakland Job Hub 2012 unless they have verification of a large customer contract that begins in the immediate future and requires placement of at least one year. Job seekers must register at by Feb. 16.

Johnson says the Oakland Job Hub 2012 has both an online and in-person component to maximize the benefits for employers and prospective employees.

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“The online registration for job seekers is designed to attract those qualified for high-tech positions that are seriously looking for meaningful, long-term employment opportunities,” explains Johnson. “We have set on-line registration so employers and job seekers can get information as it is being populated. We also have career resources and interviewing tips available on the website to prepare candidates prior to the Job Hub. Everyone should dress professionally for this event.”