By Bill Parry
More than 750 job-seekers were able to meet with over 30 potential employers last week at the Queens Center mall and almost all of them had on-site interviews, according to state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), the host of his 7th annual job fair.
Apple Store, Game Stop, H&M, Yankee Candle and Pink by Victoria’s Secret were among the companies represented at the event co-hosted by Woodside on the Move.
“I am sure people that participated in the fair will end up with a job offer,” Peralta said. “This is what we have gathered from previous experiences, since many job-seekers have follow-up interviews and end up with job offers days after the event.”
Peralta organized his first jobs fair as a response to the recession in 2008 and Queens has recovered well with an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent in May, according to preliminary date released by the New York State Department of Labor.
“Although our economy continues to improve, hardworking New Yorkers are still having a difficult time making ends meet,” Peralta said. “Bringing resources to the community continues to be my No. 1 priority, and it is crucial we do all we can to help unemployed people find work. Every new hire means much-needed resources for a family.”
In total, the companies that participated interviewed 744 candidates on the spot, and scheduled another 236 follow-up interviews. Additionally, several organizations provided career counseling and resumé preparation for employment seekers.
“Job fairs like this provide an opportunity for the unemployed to visit with nearly 50 businesses, all in one convenient location,” Queens Center Mall Marketing Director John Scatturo said. “The mall is proud to be a part of this important community event.”
Meanwhile, Peralta announced a $75,000 allocation from this year’s state budget for 82nd Street Academics, which will go to the center’s initiative to complement public education with after-school programs. These provide students with the necessary tools to gain access to higher education and other educational opportunities.
“Education is the key to success, and this is why we must ensure schoolchildren have access to programs that encourage them in taking steps toward college,” Peralta told middle school students at the center. “It’s never too early to start thinking about college and possible areas of study.”
Located at 81-10 35th Ave. in Jackson Heights, 82nd Street Academics provides after-school programs for students from kindergarten through the fifth grade.
“Any advocacy towards youth achievement in our neighborhood is appreciated,” 82nd Street Academics Director of Instruction Mallory Tompkins said. “Our students are in silent crisis — high school graduation rates of 65 percent and 38 percent high school graduation for English Language Learners. Our students are not slow to learn, they are slow to receive the education all students deserve with normal class sizes. Sen. Peralta’s grant will be used in our mission to protect the path to college for students of New York City.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr