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File photo by Reuters/Nick Oxford
As the unemployment rate soars during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Queens borough president announces a second virtual job fair.

As unemployment hits the highest rate since the Great Depression, Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee announced a second “Virtual Queens Jobs Recruitment Fair” to connect Queens job seekers to employment opportunities in essential industries.

The ongoing hiring push comes as national unemployment spiked to 14.7 percent in April as the nation hemorrhaged a record 20.5 million jobs. Filed unemployment insurance claims continue to hit record highs during the coronavirus crisis at a toll of more than 1.8 million in New York State and more than 33 million filed nationwide since March.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is devastating the workforce and the economy,” Lee said. “In this race against time, our trajectory depends entirely on not just what we do, but when we do it. Jobs in essential industries are still available and hiring. Queens will continue making every attempt to connect job seekers to employers and recruiters, as many and as often as possible. It may seem like a mere drop in the ocean, but that drop can make all the difference for entire families and communities.”

The next Virtual Queens Jobs Recruitment Fair will be held Wednesday, May 13, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. using the video conferencing application Zoom. Prospective applicants will hear brief presentations from employers and recruiters seeking to fill hundreds of positions in a variety of essential service fields including healthcare, transportation, retail, security, and more.

Queens Centers for Progress will be hoping to recruit potential employees during the event. The Jamaica-based agency provides support to children and adults who have developmental disabilities and operates multiple group homes across the borough. 

“Queens Centers For Progress is not offering just another job, but a meaningful career working with special individuals to be supported by people who want to make a difference,” QCP Human Resources Assistant Director Michelle Jenkins said.

The Council for Airport Opportunity, which connects Queens residents with career opportunities at LaGuardia and JFK airports will also take part.

“The Council for Airport Opportunity understands that getting people back to work is more important than before,” CAO Executive Director Andrew Campbell said. We continue to work creatively to connect job seekers to employment opportunities at our local airports during these turbulent times. CAO is thrilled to partner with Borough President Lee and her team to help fulfill our mission.”

The U.S. Census Bureau is in need of additional workers to ensure Queens has a fair count.

“The Census is a national event, but to be successful, it must be conducted at the local level,” U.S. Census Bureau New York Region Census Regional Director Jeff Behler said. “This starts with hiring people to work within their own communities. We understand that many individuals’ work status and availability has since changed, so we want to remind everyone that you can still apply to work for the 2020 Census at 2020census.gov/jobs.”

A live stream of the Jobs Recruitment Fair will be available here. Prospective applicants interested in participating via Zoom must RSVP by Tuesday, May 12 at 2 p.m. by going here.

“We are delighted to partner with Borough President Lee to promote jobs with Watch Guard 24/7,” Watch Guard 24/7 CEO John Rafferty said. “Qualified individuals have an opportunity to have a rewarding career with benefits and growth opportunities. We are an essential business providing service throughout these difficult times and beyond.”

The first Virtual Jobs Recruitment Fair on April 22 saw more than 200 prospective applicants participate via Zoom, while the live stream of the event attracted more than 320 additional viewers. Video of the April 22 Jobs Recruitment Fair can be found here.

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