Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt talks about her efforts to reduce bullying in schools.
Cherry Hill job fair draws hundreds
May 23, 2012
By Melissa Dipento
Just over 8 percent of Americans are unemployed – that’s the word from the U.S. Department of Labor as of April.
But New Jersey has a little work to do before catching up with the rest of the country. Even though unemployment has dropped in recent months, 9 percent of New Jersey residents are still without work.
But that hasn’t got everybody down.
Armed with a stack of resumes and a smile, Alyssa Yackle strolled around the Cherry Hill National Guard Armory last week hoping to make some professional connections at the Job and Resources Fair, hosted by the Sixth Legislative District’s representatives.
The Chews Landing native, who recently graduated from Rutgers-Camden with a master’s degree in public health, just returned from doing international fieldwork in Cuba.
She said she wasn’t discouraged by the hundreds of residents who were also vying for the same jobs at the event.
“A lot of people were taking resumes, which was encouraging,” Yackle said. “My aunt recommended the event to me, so I’m checking out all my possibilities.”
Abe Caceres said he came to the job fair in the hopes of finding a career he could transition into. He’s still employed, but said he was seeking a managerial business role.
As a veteran who served in the Armed Forces until 2006, Caceres said he is impressed with efforts to target veterans, specifically for employment.
“This is my first job fair, and then there’s one for veterans on the battleship. I was surprised to see a lot of programs for vets,” Caceres said. “And competition – I’m still working – so I don’t feel too intimidated. I’m looking to get my foot in the door at a new company. I don’t want to be stagnant.”
For employers at the job fair, seeing hundreds of locals come out with resumes in hand is bittersweet.
Tori Smalls, the human-resources coordinator at the Cherry Hill School District, didn’t have too many people lingering at the district’s table. The district, she said, is currently only seeking qualified teachers and teachers’ aides.
Despite a relatively quiet afternoon at her table, she said she was pleased to meet candidates and see potential employees mingling with employers.
“It’s been great to see a lot of people coming out,” she said.
Domingo De Los Santos, a New Jersey state trooper, had a few interested candidates approach him who wanted to know more about available positions.
Applications for state police positions just opened on May 7 and will close on May 29, he said.
These jobs, he added, aren’t always easy to come by, because funding comes from the state, and money to hire additional police isn’t always available.
He said he wasn’t discouraged by a slow day at the job fair, noting that more than 7,000 people filed applications within 10 days of the announcement.
“Now’s the time to apply. Money has been allocated. The job itself is a really great job,” De Los Santos said.
To apply, visit NJTrooper.com before May 29.
The fair, with more than 50 employers present, was hosted by state Sen. James Beach, Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, who represent 15 Camden and Burlington county towns and boroughs, including Cherry Hill, , Haddonfield and Voorhees.
Greenwald said he was encouraged to see local residents waiting in the parking lot at 10:30 a.m., anxiously waiting for doors to open at 11 a.m.
“The last thing people need are words of hope, but this event is bringing people together,” Greenwald said. “It’s sad to see this many people unemployed, but inspiring to see the number of people interacting with employers.”