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Pa. event aims to help connect people with jobs

April 12, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Tammy McNamara, right, of Chambersburg, Pa., chats Thursday with Aerotek staffing agency recruiter Dustin Young.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Chambersburg Mall was packed with people Thursday, but they weren’t shopping for bargains — they were shopping for jobs.

Even before the second annual Here to Help Job Fair opened at 9 a.m., hundreds of job seekers flooded into the mall in search of employment.

“Jobs are something that excite me. Economic opportunity for people is what drives me,” said state Sen. Richard Alloway, R-Franklin/Adams/York, who hosted the event

“Hearing all the stories about people who are struggling to make ends meet really breaks my heart,” he said.

“Everyone needs a good-paying job so they can pay their bills, feed their family, and when you hear some of the stories, you just want to help.”

Thousands of residents from Franklin County, Hagerstown and West Virginia descended on the mall, according to event organizers.

“I’m unemployed, and I need a job,” said Daniel Huerta of Chambersburg.

He is currently in college and lives with his mother, but wants a stable job.

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“Right now you can’t be picky — I just want a job so I have money coming in,” he said.

He stopped by the Target exhibit and filled out an application on the spot.

Heather Coleman, who works in human resources for Target in Chambersburg, said the company is always hiring.

“We are planning to hire throughout the entire year. We have full-time permanent positions, and then during the fall season, we will be hiring seasonal positions,” she said.

Coleman said the job fair is a positive way for employers and potential employees to meet face-to-face because it provides more personal interaction.

“This type of hiring is best because you are able to talk to people and learn what their previous work experience is while explaining what we do in our center, as well,” she said.

She also wants prospective employees to understand that Target is more than a retail store. The company also has a large distribution center in Chambersburg, “and we’re hiring there as well.”

“Our distribution center employs over 500 team members, so this is an awesome area — we’re looking for people who want to work for us,” Coleman said.

In the first hour of the fair, job seekers waited in line to talk to representatives from a variety of fields, including health care, manufacturing, education, insurance, banking, retirement care, retail and more.

“People are hungry for work. You can tell people want to get to work,” said Alisha Miller, account manager with Randstad staffing and recruiting agency of Chambersburg.

In the first hour of the job fair, she and her colleague spoke with almost 50 job seekers.

When people say there are no jobs out there, Miller said: “There are jobs out there. You have to think outside the box. In this time we can see the economy is starting to come back.”

Phyllis Blacker, 22, of Shippensburg, Pa., is a single mother with a 3-month-old daughter.

“I came to find a better job,” Blacker said.

She works at a convenience store, and said she lives paycheck to paycheck, earning just enough to get by.

“I just want something with better pay and benefits,” said Blacker, who stopped by Randstad’s exhibit.

Kierra Rice, 25, of Chambersburg didn’t waste any time in her quest to find a job.

As soon as she picked up an application, she sat down and filled it out.

“I’m looking for a job to survive,” Rice said.

She planned to fill out as many applications as she could during the six-hour job fair.

“I’m being a little selective, but I’m pretty much putting them in wherever,” she said. “I’m willing to work at a warehouse or anywhere — I just want a job.”

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