Job Fair Targets Unemployed Housing Industry Workers

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, September 25, 2008

People were lined up to get into the job fair well before it started at 10 AM yesterday. And when the doors opened, it was packed. 

"I’m telling you, this is kind of a sign of the times to give you an idea of the need out there." 

Loree Levy is with the state Employment Development Department or EDD…which organized the job fair. The agency is trying to match these unemployed workers with companies that are hiring.    

"Already, in the first hour we had 400 workers or job seekers coming through and these employers are going to be losing their voices I think by the end of the day."  

Employers like an Indian casino, the US Forest Service and Lowes - the big box home improvement retailer. Loiss Klopper is the human resources manager with the national chain’s Citrus Heights store. She says they’re looking for people to work part-time during the upcoming holiday season. 

"A lot of the potential employees that we’re seeing today have a lot of cash handling experience through escrow or title companies so they would go into line with one of our cashiering or cash handling positions."      

She says they’re also looking to hire people with construction experience to work in the store’s hardware section. People like 54-year-old Kenneth Cannon. He was laid off from his construction job back in March. 

"I was a finish carpenter. I did all the fancy trims, hanging doors." 

Cannon says it’s been close to 20-years since he’s had to look for a job. 

"This is new to me - doing the whole job interview thing. But I see I’m not alone." 

In fact, Cannon is one of more than 100,000 Californians who lost their jobs in housing-related industries in the last year. Cannon says he’s not interested in a retail position. He wants to stay in construction but... 

"…perhaps something like in green or in solar that has a future. We’ll see what happens."   

Loree Levy with the state EDD says the agency plans to hold more of these job fairs. It’s part of Governor Schwarzenegger’s $10 million Talent Transfer initiative to help out-of-work Californians and try to stimulate the economy.