Not too long ago, Tammy Kurcz, 54, lived in a nice house in Arizona. After some of her investments went south, her middle-class lifestyle disappeared. So she moved back to Los Angeles, the city she called home for 28 years. Unable to find employment, Kurcz soon became homeless. Today she lives out of her car while looking for a job.
The former hairstylist and preschool teacher was one of more than 1,500 job seekers who recently attended the fourth annual Spring Into Summer Hiring Spree hosted by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas at the Juanita Millender-McDonald Community Center in Carson.“This is my first job fair,” Kurcz said, hoping to find a job in childcare. “I am encouraged to find a job today.”
According to a recent article in the L.A. Businesses Journal, in Los Angeles County and Long Beach, the unemployment rate hovers near 10 percent; far above the 8.1 statewide and 6.6 percent national unemployment average.
By 10 a.m. about 600 people waited in line with Kurcz for a shot at a job. Angela Renchie, career development program supervisor at the Los Angeles County Office of Education, one of the sponsors of the fair, said more than 70 top notch employers were present, ready to fill more than 700 positions in fields such as military, hotel hospitality, administrative, education, medical and law enforcement.
“I think people recognize the caliber of employers at this job fair, so even if they are currently employed they come back to seek better employment opportunities,” said Renchie.
Last year more than 400 job fair attendees received jobs. Workshops were offered at this year’s job fair to provide job interview tips to attendees on topics such as social media etiquette, business attire and employer perspectives during the interview process.
“We want to ensure that residents in Los Angeles County have a forum to showcase their talents to employers,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “Year after year, this job fair helps connect a talented workforce with hiring employers.”
Forty-year-old, Tony Knox, a father of three, wants to be one of the lucky ones. “I feel normal when I’m working,” said Knox. “It’s part of life. You feel good about yourself. You don’t feel good when you’re not working.”