By Steve Mosco
As the national dialogue focuses on unemployment numbers heading into the presidential election, thousands of residents worked their way into a job fair at Resorts World Casino in South Ozone Park Friday.
State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), hosting his sixth annual job fair, welcomed employment seekers from across Queens and beyond as potential employers spoke with job candidates and scanned résumés for standouts in the workforce.
“My obligation and responsibility is to help my constituents and everyone else find a job and get to work,” said Addabbo, adding he expected close to 3,000 job seekers by the end of the fair. “We as elected officials have to give people a fighting chance to find a job.”
Nearly 200 job vendors set up tables in Resorts World’s third floor convention space as lines of applicants snaked around columns, out the event space door and down the escalator to the second floor. Vendors at the fair included both government and private employers, including The Home Depot, Cablevision, Delta Airlines and the state departments of Labor, Transportation and Taxation and Finance.
While some job hunters knew exactly which type of work they were aiming for, many more were on hand to see what was available and to make their way from vendor to vendor applying to as many jobs as possible.
“I’ve bounced around in a few different odd jobs this last year,” said Clyde Tewes, 23, of Jamaica, who said his specialty is security. “What I want is a stable job with the opportunity for promotion. I want to be able to support my family — when I have a family.”
Providing the opportunity for people to find a job with the possibility for advancement is why Addabbo continues to hold these job fairs. The senator, who is up for re-election next month against City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), said unemployed residents should keep their eyes open for jobs that promote advancement.
“We have all types of people looking for work — veterans, seniors, people just trying to improve themselves — some of them have been looking for work for over a year,” he said. “What I tell them a lot of times is that perseverance pays off. Keep looking and look everywhere. And don’t fall into the trap of looking for the perfect job. If you haven’t worked in a while and need to provide for your family, grab a job.”
A pair of sisters from Ridgewood came to the job fair looking for work after extended periods spent unemployed. Evelyn and Miriam Vale said the job market is choked with people desperate for full-time and part-time hours. And both sisters said not only is the job market packed with people in need of work, but snagging a job is made more difficult given many companies’ preference to receive résumés over the Internet.
They said this practice increases competition for jobs by increasing the number of applicants.
“It’s really tough out there,” said Evelyn Vale. “Hopefully, some doors will open from today.”
Miriam echoed her sister’s sentiment and said meeting employers face-to-face could only improve their chances of finding work.
“The job market is very competitive,” she said. “Just look at the long line of people here.”
Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4546.