More than 1,000 job seekers pack career fair

Photo by Brian Giandelone

Photo by Brian Giandelone

LAWRENCEVILLE -- More than 1,000 people lined up Thursday for the first Crossroads Career Network job fair at First United Methodist Church Lawrenceville.

Job seekers began arriving at 8:30 a.m., an hour and a half before the event started.

The job fair, sponsored by First United Methodist Church Lawrenceville, Hebron Baptist Church, Sugar Hill United Methodist Church and the Department of Labor, featured 50 employers.

"There's a need for this to try to connect job seekers with employers who have positions to fill," said Steve Burns, the ministry team leader of the Lawrenceville Employment Assistance Program.

Burns said he was surprised by the turnout. He expected about 600 or 700 people to show up, but more than 1,000 had arrived by noon.

Michael Wade, of Winder, understand the grim state of the economy -- he's been unemployed for almost a year -- but he, too, was surprised by the number of job seekers.

"It's a tough job market, but it doesn't really hit you that so many are unemployed until you come out and see this," he said.

Wade studied public administration and political science in college and is looking for a job in finance or banking. He worked for a nonprofit commercial real estate company, but he lost his job suddenly when the company went out of business.

When Duluth resident Melody Allen arrived at the church, the overflowing parking lot caught her attention.

"That tells you what this market is like right now," she said.

Loganville resident Lavern Arnold has been looking for employment ever since her temporary job ended in July. She has a master's degree in human resources, but she said it has been "impossible" to find a job.

"I've tried everything. I've been to job fairs. I've gone online," she said. "What I've realized is it's a matter of knowing someone."