For local resident Derek Wilks, Thursday was an important day.
“I’m looking for a job — a good paying job.”
Wilks is just one of roughly one thousand around the area who attended the 10th Annual Neighborhood Job Fair.
The fair was hosted by Temple and took place in McGonigle Hall. 90 employers set up booths to talk to potential employees. They ranged anywhere from SEPTA to the Philadelphia Police Department, to Raymour & Flanigan and Lee’s Hoagie House. Wilks had a specific job opportunity in mind at the fair.
“Anything that specializes in HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning),” he said.
Naeemah Gaskins graduated Temple in 2015. She, too, is looking for work and has an interest in Criminal Justice.
“I’m really surprised with how many companies actually are here,” she said. “That gives me hope that I might find somewhere that really fits me.”
Also in attendance was Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.
He told Temple Update the fair is a great opportunity for so many around the area.
“When you do score a job, it’s a big thing in your life and your life winds up in a different direction, which is a positive one,” said Kenney.
He offered praise for the university’s effort in organizing the event.
“Temple has always been engaged in the community — not only in education, athletics, other things, but in building community and being an important part of the community.”
Officer Samuel Cruz of the Philadelphia Police Department worked at a stand, recruit interested applicants.
“We’re looking to hire quite a lot of officers down the lines,” he said. “People need jobs today and we’re here to give back.”
The fair has grown over its inaugural event ten years ago, initially a fair for neighboring residents of the Temple community. Now, the fair is one of the largest in the city, reaching job seekers from around the tri-state area. Last year’s event alone drew more than 2,000 people. This year, job seekers consisted of experienced adult professionals, military veterans, recent college graduates and blue and white collar employees.
“I’m proud that Temple allows this event to happen to provide an employment opportunity for somebody in the community,” said fair organizer Michael Robinson, who is the Director of Community Outreach and Hiring at Temple’s Office of Human Resources.
Robinson said every employer at the fair is looking to hire, either part-time or full-time.
“If one person gets hired out of this, our job is well done.”
But for Wilks and so many others at the fair, the mindset is optimism after networking with employers.
“I went to the last (fair) and I had five interviews like a week after I left there.”