What began as a slow but steady trickle turned into a surge of job seekers at the Alexandria Lakes Area Job Fair on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at the Broadway Ballroom.

The event was sponsored by the Echo Press, Jobs HQ and CareerForce.

Those interested in landing their first job or who were looking for a new career opportunity browsed among more than 25 booths and visited with representatives from employers across the region.

Donielle Griffith was among the job seekers. She just moved to the Alexandria area from California and was checking out job possibilities.

Griffith spent some time talking to representatives from Rural Minnesota CEP, which is part of the newly named CareerForce, a collaborative partnership between the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the Governor’s Workforce Development Board and the Minnesota Association of Workforce Boards. It brings all of Minnesota’s workforce system and its multiple partners under the single unified CareerForce brand.

CareerForce is made up of hundreds of DEED staff, nonprofit partners and business leaders throughout Minnesota. Employers and career seekers can get help in person, on the phone and online at CareerForceMN.com.

DEED Commissioner Steve Grove, GWDB chair Laura Beeth and MAWB Chair Shirley Barnes shared the vision for CareerForce at a rollout event on Sept. 17 at CareerForce in Minneapolis.

“Today’s CareerForce rollout marks the beginning of efforts to leverage technology and innovation to serve Minnesota employers and career seekers in new ways,” said Grove. “We know our state’s businesses are struggling to find and retain workers and that many Minnesotans face challenges in finding the right work. The investments we’re making in CareerForce will help us better meet the changing needs of Minnesota’s career seekers and employers.”