Job seekers get helping hand at fair

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. The Victoria Gardens Cultural Center was packed with 1,000 job seekers on Thursday. They were anxiously accepting the opportunity to talk with representatives of companies looking for good workers.

Chaffey College and San Bernardino County brought would-be employers and job seekers together.

"This job fair is put on specifically for our CalWORKs participants. We have about 24,000 customers that we serve in San Bernardino County in our 'Welfare-to-Work' program," said Nancy Swanson, San Bernardino County director of transitional assistance.

The unemployment rate is high in California and is expected to go higher. But there are companies with positions to fill. The applicants in the county program have been schooled on how to prepare for job interviews.

"On site, as we speak, there are workshops occurring in interviewing techniques, communication skills, as well as some resume and application review," said Veronica de Beaubien, Chaffey College.

Job fair organizers say about a quarter of the employers present will hire from the job fair.

"We're just basically looking for dependable, reliable people. We see a lot of people who are interested in just finding a good job," said Claudia Mariscal, Hilton Corporation.

"I'm here because the job market has become softened up in my field -- I'm a motorcycle mechanic and diagnostics tech," said Ray Kelly, who was looking for a job. "And, unfortunately, it's been to the point where I've been laid off from a few places. And, I just, I need something that's going to be more stable because I have a family."

"I was actually amazed at how many more companies were there, because I didn't think there was going to be that many companies there," said Travis Johnson, another job seeker.

Among the applicants, there was little sign of despair on Thursday. There was a feeling that the effort and contact that they made lead to jobs and independence.


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