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Job fairs offer an opportunity to learn trade

January 23, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Stephanie Kane, a new resident in the Hagerstown area, is hoping to get a job with the subcontractors building Gateway Crossing, a planned new public housing project in Hagerstown.

Kane, who said she is interested in doing carpentry work on the project, was one of about 45 local residents who attended two Wednesday job fairs organized by the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc., Cumberland Valley Chapter, and contractor Harkin Builders Inc. of Marriotsville, Md.

Harkin Builders Inc. has the contract to demolish the Hagerstown Housing Authority's 210-unit Westview Homes public housing complex and build its replacement, Gateway Crossing.

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Demolition work began last month.

Under federal law, the contractor is required to make efforts to employ local residents and use local subcontractors, Hagerstown Housing Authority officials said.

The job fairs are a good way for the contractor to make efforts to find local residents, including those displaced by the demolition of Westview, who are interested in working on the project, Jerry Smith, project manager for the contractor, said Wednesday.

The contractor will hire subcontractors to do some of the work, Smith said. Those subcontractors will consider hiring Kline and others who attended Wednesday's job fair, he said.

The employees will receive training and classes, at no expenses to the employees, from the ABC, President Joan Warner said.

Larry Tygrett, who lives at the Cold Weather Shelter, said he hopes the job fair will lead to work as an electrician.

"I am glad something like this is around for us," Tygrett said.

Doug Bliss, who attended the evening job fair, said he has done carpentry work for more than 10 years elsewhere and he wants to continue it now that he lives in the Hagerstown area.

The job fair served several purposes: It helps residents get jobs, it helps the contractor and subcontractors identify potential employees and it helps the ABC train more people, Warner said.

The Hagerstown Housing Authority says Gateway Crossing, the class-integrated neighborhood replacing Westview Homes, will reinvigorate the West End community and improve the city.

Construction of the first phase of Gateway Crossing is scheduled to start by spring, Housing Authority officials said.

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