CHICAGO (CBS) – About 3,000 people lined up for the city’s first-ever jobs fair on Friday – some of them waiting in line for up to six hours – hoping to apply for work with the city, but many left frustrated after learning the only way to apply for a job was to go online.
WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports Mayor Rahm Emanuel stopped by the job fair, expecting a warm welcome from job seekers, but instead ran into lots of ticked-off people.
More than 3,000 people showed up for the 55 posted job openings, but city hiring rules require all applications be filed online, so many of those who attended left frustrated at having to stand in line for hours, without being able to actually apply for a job.
Anthony Rodgers was the first person in line at Kennedy-King College on Friday, showing up at 3 a.m. for a job fair that didn’t open until 9 a.m. By the time it started, a line of people hoping to land a job with the city, or one of its sister agencies, had snaked around the block.
“I need a job. I need a job, that’s the bottom line. … The best way to get a job? Be there before your employer’s there,” Rodgers said.
His goal was the same as everyone else in line – to get a job. But many said the job fair wasn’t what they were expecting – a chance to sit down and apply for or interview for a job, not simply meet a few city officials and be told they had to apply online.
City officials were not conducting job interviews, or hiring anyone on the spot. Officials said all job applications for city jobs must be done online, because of city hiring rules and the federal Shakman decree that bans political-based hiring for most city jobs.
However, city representatives did offer assistance in applying for jobs online using computers provided by the city, and also informed job seekers about workshops on résumé writing and job interview skills.
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports the event left many of those job seekers wondering why someone didn’t tell them from the start to use their computers to apply for a city job, rather than stand in line for hours in the cold.
Cherrie Moore said, “They just got fliers of resources, things we could have got on the Internet, things we probably already know about.”
Rodney Booker said, “I stood in line for four hours. They better give me a Wal-Mart gift card, or something.”