Lines out both doors for job seekers at Waukegan job fair


WAUKEGAN - Standing outside a packed community job and resource fair at the Waukegan Ramada Inn on Monday, state Rep. Rita Mayfield, D-Waukegan, was asked if the event gave her any feel for the state of her district's economy.

On one hand, said Mayfield, there were "lines out both doors" of the Ramada banquet hall before the fair opened at 10 a.m. But she added that, in speaking to attendees, not everyone coming in was out of work.

"It's no so much that they're unemployed, it's that they're looking for a better job, or they want to change fields, said Mayfield, adding that a lot of people are still hurting right now but she felt the event was generating a positive response.

U.S. Rep. Robert Dold, R-Kenilworth, co-host of the four-hour session, said he feels that the county and state "have a long way to go" in recovering jobs lost to the recession, and events like Monday's are "something I'm confident we'll be doing again in the future, it's just a question of when."

Dold added that the two-dozen businesses and agencies participating on Monday all had one thing in common.

"They had to be hiring to get in," said Dold, noting that other participants, like the College of Lake County, were on hand to spread awareness of job-training programs.

By 0 a.m., there were 300 participants at the event, which Dold, the 10th District Republican, and Mayfield, the 61st House District Democrat, sponsored jointly.

Among the agencies with positions available this spring and summer was the Foss Park District in North Chicago, where manager Brad Skof said "our golf course has been open for a month now" and needs seasonal workers.

"We have 10 job categories we need to fill, (and) the number of people we hire for them is based on their availability," said Skof, mentioning such positions as pro shop attendant, starter/ranger, cart attendant and maintenance workers.

Laurel Diver of the Lake County Forest Preserve District said her agency is also in need of seasonal workers, with around 300 positions being filled this spring and summer at golf courses and in such programs at the Youth Conservation Corps.

"We have a number of students that come in, but we also have non-students," she said. "Our applications are actually down from the last two years, and we don"t know if that's because the economy has started getting better or not."

Also participating on Monday were NorthPointe Resources, Randstand Staffing, Six Flags Great America, Vista Health Systems, We Care Senior Caregiving Services and the Waukegan Park District.

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