Saturday, August 29, 2009

1,000 Job Seekers Flock to Atlas Park by Stephen Geffon - Queens Chronicle

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About 1,000 job seekers waited in line at Atlas Park to speak with potential employers or drop off their resumes, in hopes of securing a job interview. (photo by Michael O’Kane)

And you thought your job search took you far.

Artravious Henley, 23, of Seattle Wash., came to the job fair at The Shops At Atlas Park in Glendale Friday with one mission: to get a job.

A recent graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Seattle and an avid viewer of the Food Channel, Henley is working as a freelance wedding coordinator.

By the end of the day, the master chef was offered a plum job as a culinary arts teacher with Restaurant Opportunities of New York, one of 50 employers at the fair.

“I would never have found that company otherwise,” Henley said.

Henley wasn’t the only one looking for a quick hire at the fair. The event
attracted 1,000 people from Queens and beyond, though not everyone was fortunate enough to snag a job in one afternoon.

Jennifer, 21, from Jamaica, a pre-med student at St. John’s University, said she was seeking a part-time job that would fit into her college schedule. She met with both Jet Blue and Delta Airlines recruiters, who advised her that the company’s policy was to have applicants file their applications online.

Another job-seeker from Woodside, who declined to give her name, said she lost her job at a Manhattan publishing firm two months ago and was seeking administrative work. She didn’t find what she was looking for at the fair, but dropped off her resume with MetLife and Aflac in hopes of scoring an interview at a later date.

To help candidates succeed, fair organizers didn’t simply invite employers to pitch their tents around the park grounds. They created four workshops entitled Ace your Interview, Employment Search, Resume Building and Green Jobs Training, designed to motivate and train job seekers.

At 9 a.m., an hour before the fair began, there were about 100 people lined up and waiting in the 90-plus degree heat, according to state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr., who sponsored the fair.

“I hope that people leave here with a sense of optimism that they have an opportunity for a job,” Addabbo said. Similar job fairs would be run periodically as the economy dictates, he added.

Joseph A. Galasso, senior vice president at SL Green Realty Corp., an employer at the fair and one of the bidders vying to resurrect Aqueduct Race Track, said more than 100 people had left resumes with him. He added that SL Green is always hiring and keeps resumes on file, and that if the company is chosen to run Aqueduct, it would spur the creation of almost 2,000 permanent jobs.

Companies participating at the job fair ran the gamut from nonprofits and state and federal government organizations to colleges and private employers. Among the fair’s participants were Catholic Charities, Mercy Home, U.S. Army, Navy and National Guard, Internal Revenue Service, New York City Commission on Human Rights, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Metropolitan Transit Authority, New York State Department of Civil Service, New York State Office of Court Administration, City University of New York, Kingsborough Community College, National Grid, Jet Blue and Delta Airlines, Pepsi Cola, Stop & Shop Supermarkets, Century 21-Fortune Realty, Aflac and the Queens Chronicle.