Chicago job fair: Hundreds attend hospitality hiring event

Tuesday, April 18, 2023
Hundreds attend Chicago hospitality hiring event
A Chicago job fair brought 65 employers looking for new hires and hundreds of job seekers to the Hospitality Hires Chicago event on Tuesday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- From the restaurant association to members of the hospitality industry, there were 65 employers looking for new hires at the Hospitality Hires Chicago job fair event on Tuesday.

With over 850 registered job seekers at Tuesday's hospitality hiring event, the idea is everybody walking in for a job will walk out with one.

With a pre-screening process already in place, workers were able to easily match their skill sets with the employment opportunity.

"We have entry level positions and we have a place for everybody," said Julia May with Limelight Catering. "We have lots of room for opportunity, so there is room to grow as well."

The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership is the non-profit that organized the event. During this labor shortage, the partnership's interim CEO Patrick Combs said he sees employers are more open to hiring new employees to grow with their companies.

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"We are seeing employers more willing to work with people who have contact with the criminal justice system, people with disabilities," Combs said.

Arielle Johnson, founder of Fierce Staffing Services, understands barriers to employment. She was a teen mom who worked her way up in hospitality and is now helping others prepare for careers by hiring for entry-level event positions.

"I saw a lot of people who looked like me who had challenges getting work," Johnson said, "and I saw my work colleagues having challenges finding people, so we started Fierce Staffing."

Alberto Morelos and Miles Lewis are two young men who were hired on the spot by Palmer House for Banquet Service and IT/Communication.

"It's a blessing because you never know what's going to happen," Morelos said. "Woke up today, never know what's going to happen."

"Excellent to have a job you can grow with a large company," Lewis said. "Pretty excited to see how far it takes me."

Beyond this event, employers in hospitality are eager to get staff needed as the busy summer tourism season is just around the corner.