A SIGN OF THE TIMES: Hundreds flock to Goodwill job fair
PRESCOTT - Terry Villa's employer in Las Vegas laid him off from his architectural rendering job a year and a half ago. Villa said he looked for another job for a year, finally landing a position as a driver this past September with Tender Hearts Senior Care, a Prescott-based company that provides caregiving and transportation services.
His superiors promoted him to fleet manager three months ago.
Villa, of Prescott Valley, manned a booth for Tender Hearts Thursday at a job fair that Goodwill Industries of Central Arizona conducted in the Prescott Resort.
"Now, I am hiring people," Villa said. "I love it. The best thing ever. It feels good to be back in the workforce."
Villa said he met a couple of people whom he wants to call back for interviews, adding applicants for drivers and caregivers must undergo background checks and fingerprinting.
Goodwill sponsored the fair, in its second year, in conjunction with U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott.
Goodwill officials expected a turnout similar to the estimated 400 job seekers who attended in 2012.
Two hours into the job fair, Goodwill registered about 260 job seekers, said Richmond Vincent, vice president of workforce development, based in Phoenix.
The applicants in general were better prepared than a year ago and brought resumes, Vincent said. He said Goodwill provided business attire for 50 men and 50 women so they could make more favorable impressions with the employers.
Representatives from two recruiters interviewed by the Courier said they were pleased with the applicant pool.
Jill Johnston, staffing manager at the Grand Canyon Railway Resort in Williams, said she would consider hiring several job seekers who showed up at her booth. The Grand Canyon Railway is filling 25 openings for the hotel and railroad for positions such as dispatcher, maintenance engineer, HVAC technician (for air conditioning and heating), housekeepers and kitchen help.
The Home Depot store in Prescott Valley has about 20 openings for lot associates, the freight team and in sales, said Bill Rhodes, human resources manager. Lot associates load merchandise for customers, and the freight team brings merchandise into the store.
Rhodes said he talked to 150 people as of two and a half hours into the four-hour fair.
However, he explained, Home Depot is hiring part-timers, while the applicants were looking for full-time jobs.
He probably did not have the right fit for Gloria Zawadzki, a Prescott resident who holds bachelor's degrees in international business administration and German and formerly worked as a background investigator.
"Here it has been more sales, marketing-type positions, but I'll probably consider anything," said Zawadzki, who has been looking for a job off and on since January.