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Joliet job fair aims to boost employment in the county

Published: Thursday, June 5, 2014 11:15 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Rob Winner – rwinner@shawmedia.com)
Kevin Curley (center) of Lockport speaks with representatives Jamie Regan (left) and Tom Mineo (right) of Con-Way Freight at the Joliet Junior College job fair Thursday afternoon. “It's great that they put this together here,” said Curley who continued “I had a couple bites out of it. So we'll see what happens.”
Caption
(Rob Winner – rwinner@shawmedia.com)
Tommy Turriff (left), a representative of TLC Ingredients in Crest Hill, speaks with U.S. Rep. Bill Foster during a job fair at Joliet Junior College on Thursday morning.
Caption
(Rob Winner – rwinner@shawmedia.com)
Kevin Gallagher of Downers Grove looks over the employer booths at the job fair at Joliet Junior College on Thursday morning. Gallagher was looking for marketing and sales job and had already lined up an interview for Friday.

JOLIET – John Lindsey was on the hunt Thursday for a warehouse job where he could continue his roughly 38-year career working in distribution centers. 

The Joliet resident was one of dozens who attended a job fair at Joliet Junior College, hosted by the Illinois Department of Employment Security and U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville. The job fair is part of Foster’s Project Growth initiative to boost jobs and economic development in Chicago-area counties.

“They got a lot of opportunities in here and I’m trying to get every last one,” Lindsey said. “Sooner or later somebody is going to call.”

Lindsey, 54, is a former U.S. Marine, so he was given a preview of the fair an hour before it opened to the public. Foster said veterans were provided that opportunity because unemployment among veterans is a concerning issue.

“The best thing we can do to make someone feel good about their lives is to get them a solid job,” he said.

Foster said part of boosting employment in the county was to match people with specific skills with the employers who need them. After meeting with economic development experts in Will County, Foster said the economic situation locally and in surrounding areas was looking good.

“It appears to be getting better,” he said. “You’re seeing for the first time in six years housing construction really re-starting. … We’re seeing a lot of new businesses announce their intention to move in and that’s going to translate to jobs.” 

More than 50 employers – ranging from retail to industrial to entertainment and transportation – set up booths in JJC’s cafeteria. One of those businesses was A.S.G. Staffing, Inc., which works with companies to fill general labor positions.

“We’ve had quite a lot of openings so we need to get the right people in there,” said Denise Hernandez, officer manager for the Bolingbrook branch.

Another was IKEA, which has stores in Bolingbrook and Schaumburg. Mini Hundal, human resource manager for the Bolingbrook location, said the company was looking to fill restaurant, customer service and delivery positions. 

“We thought this [job fair] would be a great opportunity in a local community,” Hundal said. 

Al Trevino, 60, of Plainfield, attended to look for work in maintenance. Trevino, also a JJC student, said he was laid off in January from a position for a company that moved out of state. Now he finds himself needing to freshen up his skill set for the current job market. 

“I got to review and re-learn things, hopefully before I retire,” he said. 

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