Job fair held on Chicago's South Side

May 11, 2010 3:38:25 PM PDT
More than 1,000 people turned out at Chicago's House of Hope Church Tuesday in the hopes of finding a job.

Dozens of potential employers were on hand to meet applicants in one area of the city that's lost thousands of jobs.

Wal-Mart was the sponsor of the job fair.

Advice was also given to those seeking employment. Some have been out of work for months.

In the last 30 years, the 9th Ward, home to the historic Pullman District, has lost 30,000 jobs. The district is the proposed site of a controversial new Wal-Mart.

Ronald Carter was laid off seven months ago as a commercial sales manager. On Tuesday, he hoped to connect with employers one on one instead of just applying for jobs online.

"Builds up your spirits to talk to somebody and find out what they have available right now," said Carter.

Wal-Mart has hundreds of openings throughout the Chicagoland area and may have more if a proposed Wal-Mart is approved by City Council.

"We have HR managers, store managers, and other people who are happy to talk to people about opportunities they have with the company," said Amy Hill, Wal-Mart.

Alderman Anthony Beales says the job fair was part of the campaign to bring Wal-Mart to the South Side.

"We don't have any. So we need to bring those jobs into our area so that we can make sure we change the quality of life and change the crime rate in our area by giving the kids something to do," said Ald. Beales.

While there may have been an agenda for job fair organizers, visitors had only thing on their agendas -- employment.

Evelyn Dieppa was laid off when she was pregnant with Dianada. "There's no job out there. For a single mom, it's too hard," said Dieppa.

LaToya Garrett came with her friends, some working and some working part-time. They are all looking for secure careers to support themselves and their families.

"There are a lot of jobs that are not recession proof and I would like to have options so I don't get unemployed or not in a place with an unemployment line. I would like to transition to another job if need be or necessary," said Garrett.

Valeriano Blackburn is a personal banker for US Bank, one of the recruiters are the job fair. He urges job seekers to find opportunities to meet face to face.

"When you come to a job fair like this, you are able to put the name, faces, experience together and get that information with the recruiter," said Blackburn.

No decision has been made on the new Wal-Mart. In the meantime, job seekers are urged to apply online. And although there were recruiters at Tuesday's job fair, applications were made online and they suggest if you don't have access to Internet at home, you can go to one of the stores and they have kiosks there or any public library with Internet access.


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