Yesterday, a line started forming at 3:00 am outside of the Crenshaw Christian Center in Inglewood, CA. Those who stood in the dark were waiting in hopes that when the 9:00 am job fair opened they would have first crack at walking away with a job.
The event was the culmination of the Congressional Black Caucus’ For the People Jobs Initiative, which included town halls and job fairs in major urban centers across the United States. The tour began in Cleveland, OH, on August 8th, and has made its way to the Los Angeles area via stops in Detroit, Atlanta and Miami. At 12%, California has the second highest unemployment rate in the country behind Nevada (12.9%).
Held just outside of Los Angeles in the predominately African American community, the event ran from 9:00 am-5:00 pm and there was a steady stream of job seekers from the moment the doors opened throughout the entire day.
“Look at the thousands and thousands of people. People started lining up at 3:00 am and this isn’t unique to Los Angeles. This is the exact same thing I saw in Cleveland, in Atlanta, in Miami and now here at home,” Congresswoman Laura Richardson (D-CA) shared with Politic365. “This is an excellent opportunity to bring the employers – people who I talk to all the time – and bring our constituents together to say, we are hiring. People either think, people aren’t hiring or they think people don’t want to work. Both of those aren’t true.”
While there were over 160 employers on hand for the event, those seeking employment seemed endless. To accommodate the numbers CBC staff and volunteers grouped eager job seekers in the Crenshaw Christian Center Faith Dome and then called attendees by section to enter the fair when there was room for them.
While waiting job seekers were able to hear from representatives of companies who were hiring.
“We’re here and we’re hiring,” were the opening remarks from Letia Riza, AT&T Regional Director of Staffing. She went on to inform the attentive crowd, “We’re looking for full-time, part-time, management and entry-level. We’ll offer you all the training you need, full benefits and tuition reimbursement whether you’re part-time or full-time.”
Many were disappointed to find very few companies were hiring on the spot. Instead most were told to go online, create a talent profile and begin submitting to positions.
“I’ve been on my job search since last December,” a young woman by the name of LaShaye shared with Politic365. “So far I’ve done a lot of applying online and I know the companies prefer that, but I would rather face to face. I think it’s more personable and I think you get more resolution.”
LaShaye noted that she is currently working part-time and that she attained that job by going in and having a face to face meeting. “I heard they were going to be hiring on the spot [today], but unfortunately they aren’t. I wish they could find a way to eliminate that step because a lot of people don’t have Internet access.”
“Online, it seems your resume can get loss in the shuffle,” she concluded.
Advice from Riza to disappointed job seekers was to, “Finish the [online] process because most companies are doing it this way. People often go online and start their talent profile, but walk away and don’t finish. And if you don’t get one position apply for another. AT&T sees the talent profiles and we are hiring.”