The last Thursday in August, a line of more than 400 people, dressed in business attire, wrapped around the Brooklyn Sports Club (BSC). They were there for the Fourth Annual East New York Restoration Job Fair. With high hopes of employment, these job seekers were seen and interviewed by retailers, like Nordstrom Rack, The Children’s Place, Designer Show Warehouse (DSW), Lane Bryant and Bed, Bath and Beyond… all new businesses in the newly expanded Gateway Center Mall.
“It was almost like speed dating for jobs,” said Thom Glover, after meeting with a few hiring representatives who conducted brief interviews with the jobseekers. A former teacher, the 58-year old retiree said he attended the fair because he would like to make some extra money working in retail. One business caught his attention. Interviewed by The Children’s Place, he thought he would be a good fit, “I like working with children. That’s what I did for a very long time.”
Happy for the personal interview, Glover was disappointed, however, to learn that The Children’s Place and other retailers were only accepting online job applications. Bed, Bath and Beyond was an exception.
DSW’s Brooklyn District Manager Billy Stahl said the job fair was a way for people to find out more about the retailers and what they are looking for in employees. “We want someone with an outgoing personality, interpersonal skills and prepared to work with a team. No past experience necessary,” explained Stahl who was looking to hire for DSW’s opening on October 9 at the mall.
In July, the New York State Department of Labor statistics reported that the unemployment rate was at 7.8 percent, representing a drop in the rate.
Ivette Salgado, 47, was excited about being at the job fair, knowing businesses were looking to hire. “I want to go back to college and get my Master’s Degree, but I need to get a job first to save up for it,” said Salgado who was let go last year from a teaching position.
After graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School, Keyana Warren, 18, decided she wanted to become a social worker but did not have the money to start college. She arrived at the fair with 20 resumes, and a positive and confident attitude. “I hope I am hired,” said the 18-year old who tried her best to impress would be employers with her winning personality.
This year’s job fair was presented by East New York Restoration in partnership with Man Up!, Inc., Spring Creek Towers Office of Community Relations, Brooklyn Sports Club and supported by New York City Council Member Inez Barron (D- 42nd CD) and New York State Committee Charles Barron.
Photos: Amanda Moses
BY: AMANDA MOSES
EDITED BY AGNES E. GREEN