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Brookfield Zoo holds job fair

May 28, 2010 3:40:19 PM PDT
About a thousand people turned out for a job fair to apply for about 500 seasonal positions at Brookfield Zoo Monday.The jobs include tour guides, foodservice workers, groundskeepers and the like. Most pay minimum wage.

Rachel Marsh is set to graduate college in May. She's hoping a seasonal job could lead to bigger things.

"I'm hoping though to get my foot in the door and then see if anything else would happen," said Marsh.

The situation is more desperate for AJ Leato. The married father of seven children lost his job as an operations manager at a nursing home last April.

"I'm willing to take anything. When you're out of work for so long. Doing some side work, but not too much. There's nothing out there," said Leato.

Leato's story seemed a familiar refrain.

"Just looking for a job. You know, it's hard to find a job and so just trying really hard to find one," said Shawn Fuller.

"Just trying to find a better job. You know, more money," said Chance Koleczek.

"I need the money to be honest, " said Pamela Sweis.

Jane Zemke says these seasonal jobs typically attract mostly teenagers. But since the economy went south, the zoo is seeing far more older applicants.

"We're seeing people that are displaced from other employment. They're looking for fulltime work or any job that they can get right now," said Zemke.

If hired, this will be the very first job for Francine Isom. The soon-to-be high school graduate says she's been looking for summer work for months, but she's seeing firsthand that the job market these days is not such a welcoming place.

"It's hard. It's hard out here. And I had to learn that on my own. Yeah, it's hard," said Isom.

Last year, Brookfield Zoo took in about 56,000 job applications, about three times the number they expected. They're on pace to get about that many this year as well.

The zoo is planning a second job fair on March 15. For more information, visit www.czs.org.


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