Crowds of job seekers meet potential employers at York Career Fair
Just 10 minutes after Santander Stadium opened for the York Career Fair Monday, state Rep. Kevin Schreiber said, over 260 people had passed through the gates.
The crowd was anything but uniform: Job-seekers ranged from teens to older adults and represented a wide variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds.
Employers were diverse as well. Representatives from large companies such as Amazon, FedEx Ground, Integrity Staffing Solutions and Starbucks set up tables alongside nonprofits such as Bell Socialization Services Inc., Christian Home Healthcare and Visiting Angels. HACC-York and two other schools were represented at the event, as were the City of York, the Pennsylvania Department of Probation and Parole, and the Pennsylvania State Police.
By 2:30 p.m., half an hour after the gates opened, the crowd was elbow-to-elbow.
Event: Organizations like Bell Socialization Services, PA CareerLink and Crispus Attucks offered job-seekers free interview preparation in the lead-up to the event.
A focus of the event was to connect ex-convicts with job opportunities. Schreiber, D-York City, whose office helped to organize the event, pointed out a list on the second page of the event's information packet, a directory of participants that showed companies willing to hire people with criminal histories.
James Billingslae, 43, has been looking for a job since he was released from prison about two weeks ago. Billingslae, who lives in a halfway house on West Market Street in York, was imprisoned for three years on a nonviolent drug charge.
The job search is challenging because "certain jobs don't hire felons," he said.
Billingslae was hoping to find a position with FedEx, or maybe a custodial or maintenance job. He said he'd like to work for the government.
"I'm looking for a career, not just a job," he said.
Wide net: The fair also helped those who wished to cast a wide net.
John Wennerholt, 54, was laid off from his job as print production manager for LNP Media Group in Lancaster last May after the company outsourced its print production to Mechanicsburg.
Wennerholt, who worked for LNP owner Steinman Communications for 38 years, said that although employers can't legally make hiring decisions based on age, being older is "sometimes a detriment" in the job search.
"I've had a couple of interviews where they seemed really nice going into it, and then wouldn't tell me why they wouldn't hire me," he said.
Though many employers were advertising entry-level positions for which he is overqualified, the job fair presented "a good opportunity," Wennerholt said, praising the diverse selection of employers.
"It gives me exposure to and contact with companies I never would have thought about working for in the past," he said.
— Reach Julia Scheib at firstname.lastname@example.org.