Unique job fair grew from prior Qualcomm layoffs

Thousands of Qualcomm workers are facing uncertainty as the San Diego tech giant considers Broadcom's $100 billion takeover bid. 

Analysts say a takeover could include layoffs.

If that happens, those displaced workers may actually find their next job in a craft brewery or coffee shop. That opportunity stems from Qualcomm's 2015 layoff of 1,300 local workers.

At the time, the San Diego Workforce Partnership decided not to hold a traditional job fair. The organization is charged with helping laid off workers find new jobs. But CEO Peter Callstrom said the traditional job fair wouldn't work, and opted for a more relaxed environment.

"We can do it with some great craft brew and conversation and find that next career path," he said. 

The partnership came up with a smaller, happy hour style job fair, where former Qualcomm workers could connect with local tech employers like ESET and Tritech Software Systems. It worked. And last year the White House honored the program. 

Now, hiring at Happy Hour events are taking place at craft breweries - and coffee shops - across the county, focusing on fields like health care, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and clean energy. 

The events are free and open to the public but you have to register ahead of time. A spokeswoman for the organization says the next ones should be in January. 

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