Buffalo Job Fair Draws 1,500+

8:14 PM, Nov 10, 2011   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. - With today's troubled economy, you can imagine that if the "help wanted" sign is out... there will be a line of people looking for work.

Nowhere was that more apparent than in Buffalo on Thursday, at a job fair organized by the office of Mayor Byron Brown.

More than a dozen firms, which claimed to have 1,200 job openings, were invited to participate according to the Mayor.

"All of the employers that are here today have verified that they are looking to fill jobs right now and close to 1,500 people that are here today will, within a months time, have an employment opportunity," Brown told WGRZ-TV, while shaking hands with job seekers in a line that stretched several hundred feet outside the doors to the Buffalo Museum of Science where the event was held.

"It just shows the number of people in Buffalo and Erie County who are loooking for employment," Brown said.

Among those looking for work was Joe Frandina, 70, an optician who for 30 years ran his own business before selling it and retiring a few years ago.

Between savings, social security, and part time work he found with another optician, he thought that he would be able to comfortably enjoy his "golden years".

"It's not working out that way," Frandina told 2 On Your Side. "They cut the hours back. I was working four days, 32 hours a week, and they cut it back to 6 hours so I've got to find more work...and I've been looking for about a year and a half now."

Frandina told Channel 2 News, "Right now I think I have to look at a change of occupation because my field is limited. I'm thinking of something in the health care field."

Participating firms, however, weren't actually making hires at the job fair. It was set up more for the purpose of letting people know which jobs were available locally at a myriad of firms offering entry to mid level positions.

"I'm very disappointed," said Unikka Summerville, a single mother with three children, who for the last year has not been able to find work as a certified nurses aid.

"I'm on welfare....and I don't want to be," she said. "But most of these places (employers) just tell you to go to their web site and apply there. There's no sense in bringing a resume when they just tell you to apply on line...some of them don't even have applications here. So I don't understand the purpose of them coming."

"We've had people ask us if they can just leave a resume and have us find them a job. This is not what this job fair is geared toward," said Barb Florkowski, a Human Resources Administrator at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, who says the hospital currently has approximately 100 job openings.

"Hopefully, though, we can offer somebody a little bit of advice about what they need to do, and what they can put on their resume to makes them a good candidate for a job," Florkowski said.

After visiting tables and having brief discussions with a half dozen health care providers, Frandina emerged 25 minutes later, feeling better about his prospects.

"I'm more enthused than I thought. Actually it looked like there were a few spots where I thought that they could use my help...and I got a few leads I think. There's a lot of guys who just give up. I'm not gonna give up. I'm gonna keep trying," he said.

Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Norm Fisher from Eden.

Click here to read Dave McKinley's latest blogs.

WGRZ-TV, wgrz.com

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