Despite high national unemployment, St. Petersburg job seekers are optimistic

01/12/12 Liz McKibbon
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

Job seekers stood in a line stretching around the block, awaiting entry to the Tampa Bay job & career fair. Dave LaBell, an organizer of the event with the Tampa Bay Times, expected 3,000 to 3,500 attendees.

Less than an hour after doors opened, the Coliseum was already bustling. Dozens of booths with companies looking to hire filled the venue. Tradewinds Island Grand Resort was an especially popular stop. Susan, a current employee with the company, is running the company’s booth for the first time.

”Looks like we’ve had a good dozen people so far, and we’re only less than an hour into it. So, it looks like we’re gonna be doing pretty good today!”

Although some companies were seeking as few as 10 employees, PODS is recruiting 175 new employees between now and the middle of July. On-the-job training is provided for new hires. Glen is a representative for the company.

”We are here looking to recruit seasonal sales consultants and seasonal customer service consultants for PODS, our corporate call center in Clearwater, Florida.”

More than 55 vendors were present, with available positions in the hospitality industry, marketing, sales, and companies with seasonal employee needs. Jeff has been looking for a job since he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sports management last May.

“I’ve applied for the Catalina Marketing, the Expert Marketing and The Tampa Bay Rays and a couple of the resorts here.”

The overall tone of the event was optimistic, even for job seekers without a college background. Terrence is currently employed at a company in Tampa, but lives in St. Petersburg, a 30 mile commute which he says is starting to take its toll on his wallet.

”I’m definitely hopeful. I see a lot of things that I’m qualified for and they’re open to receiving people off the street, so that’s important.”

In addition to employers and potential employees, representatives for career training were present to showcase education options available in the area, including both degree-seeking programs and job-training programs. I’m Liz McKibbon with WMNF News in St. Petersburg.

information from the Associated Press was used in this report

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