No shortage of Candidates at City Hall job fair
By Christina Schweighofer 06/20/2013
After seven months of searching, Payje Hartfield still hasn’t found work. “My son’s birthday is tomorrow,” Hartfield said Friday. “He’s 5. I’ll be happy if I can bake a cake and have a small party.”
A resident of La Puente, where the unemployment rate remains above 10 percent, and in school studying sonography, Hartfield was looking for part-time work in the health care sector. On Friday, she made another effort, visiting a job fair at Pasadena City Hall.
Sponsored by the Enterprise Zone and the Foothill Work Force Investment Board, two state and federally funded programs, the event brought together about 40 employers and 500 job seekers. DirecTV, Dish and Aflac Insurance were hiring sales representatives. Vons was advertising for meat clerks and cake decorators. Diamond Contract Services was offering hourly work on an on-call basis. The company needs custodians to clean the Rose Bowl on event days.
Hartfield made the rounds. She found two staffing companies she could send her resume to, and she talked to the Diamond Services manager.
A few tables over, Margaret Barrera, an administrator with ComForcare Home Care Services, was leafing through a pile of 15 resumes. Picking out one with references and a copy of a driver’s license, she said: “This is impressive.” Barrera’s presence at the job fair was paying off. She had lined up five interviews in 40 minutes.
At the FBI table things were looking less rosy. Handwritten signs read: Currently in a hiring freeze; Interns for summer 2013 have already been selected. Why was the FBI at the fair? “To give people background information,” Special Agent Judith Gelman said. “Hopefully we’ll come out of the hiring freeze soon.”
The 500 job seekers of all ages and races had come for more than that. Roger Li, a young college graduate from China, was searching for something in banking. Dwayne Saunders of Glendora — with more than 25 years experience in sales and as an independent loan officer — was looking for anything with a steady income. “My daughter is 15,” he said. “It’s been a burden on the family.”
Hartfield, meanwhile, was feeling slightly optimistic. The Rose Bowl project manager from Diamond Services had promised to call her. A silver necklace with the word “Mom” caught the midday sun as the young woman turned to walk down the steps of City Hall.