Nearly 800 turn out for job fair

Hundreds of job seekers gathered at job fair organized by Councilman Kenyatta Johnson at Francis Myers Recreation Center on Thursday, April 19. — PHOTO BY NATHANIEL LEE

Nearly 800 people jammed the gym at Francis Myers Recreation Center to attend a job fair hosted by Councilman Kenyatta Johnson on Thursday, April 19.

Johnson, a former state representative for the 186th legislative district, said the job fair’s attendance was very impressive.

The recreation center was filled to capacity with residents of Southwest and from around the city hoping to find employment.

“This is actually one of our biggest job fairs,” said Tiffany White, a Johnson staffer who coordinated the event. While Johnson had held several such fairs as a state representative, this was his first while serving on city council.

“We want to make sure that people get jobs. Jobs are heavily needed in our community and we will continue to do job fairs,” White said.

Despite the crowd and potential employers such as SEPTA, City Year and others, White said that it wasn’t difficult for her to organize the event since all of Johnson’s staff had a hand in helping to pull it off successfully.

“This year we recruited more employers to our list and Roi Ligon is our job coordinator in the office and he assists with making contact with employers and ensuring that they come out,” White said.

Job seekers, many dressed professionally, walked along the lines of tables manned by representatives of the various businesses and companies represented, and inquired about available positions.

“We have about 60 employees here and they are all looking to hire,” said Ligon, whose task it was to contact potential employers for the fair. “We are just hoping that a lot of people are able to receive employment as a result.

“We partnered with a lot of city agencies as well as state departments,” he added. “We also partnered with a lot of organizations in the community such as Shop Rite and a few educational institutions such as Drexel.”

Ligon noted despite efforts, one can never guess the turnout.

To help reach those in need of employment, Johnson’s office partnered with the Greater Philadelphia Chambers of Commerce and the African-American Chambers of Commerce.

“Word of mouth is still pretty much the best way to get the word out,” Ligon said.

But holding the job fair is one thing, monitoring results is another. To do this, Ligon said he and his colleagues would continue to work even after the job fair has ended.

“That’s when the real work begins,” said Ligon about post-job fair activities. “With follow up. We definitely like to touch bases with employers to see how many people were offered interviews and, as a result, positions.”

Johnson, who held annual job fairs as a state representative, said this year’s fair stands out.

“When people attend our job fairs they actually get hired,” he said. “We even get testimonies from people saying where they got their jobs from and different employers will actually tell us who they hired.”

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