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Community job fair draws hundreds

More than 700 local job seekers discussed employment opportunities with representatives of top neighborhood companies and training organizations on Wednesday at Northeastern’s inaugural community job fair.

“Northeastern has had a long-standing commitment to community outreach and support,” said event organizer Cheryl Whitfield, the university’s assistant vice president of talent management and organizational development. “The job fair is just another example of that commitment and support for our neighbors.”

The all-day event was held in the Curry Student Center Ballroom, which was packed with vendors ranging from Coca Cola to Barnes & Noble. The job seekers were looking for work in a variety of fields, from construction and shipping to accounting and multimedia.

Boston resident Gary Maxey showed up in search of a part-time job in commercial cleaning. “I’m having fun,” he said. “I feel like I’m at a car show without the cars.”

“This is my first time at a job fair and I’m impressed,” he added. “I feel like I’m on a positive path to finding employment.”

Most of the vendors had job openings at Northeastern. Take, for example, the Thom S. Carlson Corporation, a professional services employer on Huntington Avenue.  According to operations manager Broovelt Lacet, more than a dozen employees are currently removing carpets, painting, and power washing buildings on campus.

“We try to help everybody find a job,” Lacet said. “Working for us will help you get further along in life,” he added, noting the company’s mentoring services and GED program.

Representatives of three training organizations—YMCA Training, Operation A.B.L.E., and Boston Career Link—were busy networking with dozens of local job seekers.

Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson addressed the local job seekers on Wednesday afternoon.

Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson addressed the local job seekers on Wednesday afternoon.

David Pina is the intake coordinator for YMCA Training, a Boston-based nonprofit organization that provides access to employment through a 20-week office support skills training program. “We provide the skills you need to get a job,” he said, adding that the program includes a lesson on resume writing and interview preparation. “If you have the right work ethic, then there’s no reason you can’t be successful.”

Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson underscored Pina’s sentiment in a short speech after the event began, praising the job seekers for looking for work in order to “take care of themselves, their families, and their communities.” Then he picked the first of the event’s nine lucky raffle winners, a female job seeker who won an e-reader from Northeastern’s bookstore.