March 17, 2023

Jennifer Noveck
Port of Bellingham

Whatcom County Job Fairs Highlight Ongoing Need for Workforce and Skills

In response to the ongoing labor shortage and as the education sector continues to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, multiple agencies in Whatcom County are leading efforts to link local high school students, dislocated workers, and workers looking for a career change, with job opportunities and openings.

This includes hosting a variety of job and trade fairs that will allow interested participants to learn about the trades and get excited about the number of opportunities available to them right here in Whatcom County. These events are an important piece of meeting and advancing on Whatcom County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Goal #3 to “Develop a skilled workforce, expand educational attainment, and align employer needs with educational programs and curriculum.”

Don Goldberg, the Director of the Economic Development Division at the Port of Bellingham noted, “These community events are important to highlight for several reasons. They have real potential to benefit our youth population, our graduating students, in terms of connecting them with training and employment opportunities, as well as the many Whatcom employers who continue to face labor shortages since 2020.”

On Saturday, March 18 from 11:00am to 2:00pm PST Crew Connections will be hosted in association with the Bellingham Dockside Market at the Port of Bellingham’s Fisherman’s Pavilion. This is a great opportunity for commercial fishers and tenders to connect with potential crewmembers. For more information, contact Deb Granger, from the Working Waterfront Foundation, at 360-223-3994.

On Tuesday, March 21, from 12:00 noon to 3:00pm PST Bellingham Technical College’s (BTC) Perry Center for Fisheries & Aquaculture Sciences will have an Open House at their 1600 C Street, Bellingham location. This is an open house for all to come learn about the training program and hatchery operations. This is the first open house since COVID and there has been a lot of program expansion since then. BTC will be serving light refreshments and providing networking opportunities for BTC students and industry members. Check out their Facebook event page for more information. 

On Thursday, May 4, from 10:00am to 1:00pm, the Port of Bellingham is hosting its 2nd annual Marine Trades/Try-a-Trade Fair at the Fishermen’s Pavilion. The Marine Trades Job Fair offers students and community members the opportunity to network with working waterfront employers who are actively recruiting employees, to learn more about training and internship opportunities, and to try-a-trade in the marine industry. Attendees are encouraged to research job fair participants ahead of time, ask questions, and bring copies of their resume. For more information or to register your business as a participant, contact Carey Hansen ( or by phone at 360-393-5449.

On Thursday, May 11 from 9:00am to 2:00pm is Construction Career Day at the NW Washington Fairgrounds in Lynden, WA. This event will allow attendees to learn about dynamic and engaging career paths through hands-on activities and seeks to introduce and inspire high school students from Whatcom, Skagit, and Island counties to explore and consider careers in construction. The event is free to high school juniors and seniors. Lunch will be provided. For questions, or to become a volunteer, please contact Michael Ervin ( or by phone at 206-284-4500.

On Thursday, May 11 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm PST, Bellingham High School will be hosting an Employment and College Fair at the Bellingham High Student Center focused on local part-time, summer employment opportunities, internship opportunities, entry level jobs, resume help, as well as education and training options for graduating seniors. Contact Mark Jacques ( or by phone at 360-676-6470 x7110 for more information.                   

On Wednesday, May 17, from 9:00am to 1:00pm PST the Lummi Nation will host a Try-a- Trade Day for high school students and 12:00 noon to 4:00pm PST for the public at 4903 Ferndale Road in Ferndale, WA. This event will have hands on demonstrations of different trades to develop a broader understanding and awareness of the trades, as well as local employment and training opportunities available. This event is free, requires no experience, and lunch will be provided. For more information, call 360-312-2330.

On Thursday, May 18, from 8:30am to 12:30pm PST, a Job Fair will be hosted by the City of Blaine at the Blaine High School Gymnasium. To participate or for more information contact Alex Wenger (



The Regional Economic Partnership (REP) at the Port of Bellingham is the economic development division for the Port of Bellingham and serves all of Whatcom County. REP is funded by the Washington State Department of Commerce, Whatcom County, the Port of Bellingham, and the City of Bellingham. The goal of REP is to retain and attract livable wage jobs and to assist businesses, entrepreneurs, and local organizations to thrive. The group works intensively with local and regional partners to create a resilient community and economy for all and to address the magnitude of COVID-19 impacts. The team has expertise in financing, planning, research, real estate, and technology for the purpose of helping businesses start, develop, and grow throughout Whatcom County, Washington. For more information about the Regional Economic Partnership, please visit Development.                   


The Port is a countywide municipal corporation with a mission to promote sustainable economic development, optimize transportation gateways, and manage publicly owned land and facilities to benefit Whatcom County. Throughout Whatcom County, the Port owns, operates and maintains approximately 1600 acres of property including a shipping terminal, a cruise terminal, two marinas, industrial development areas, commercial uplands, parklands, shoreline public access areas and an international airport. For more information about the Port of Bellingham, please visit                                   







        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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