62ºF

Job seekers mixed on Jax Job Fair

14K expected to attend 20th annual event

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – About 14,000 job seekers were expected to submit their resumes to potential employers Monday at the 20th annual Jacksonville Job Fair at the Prime Osborn Convention Center.

The event moved to the center from a smaller venue four years ago after its popularity grew.

"Fantastic. This is one of the hugest draws we've seen in applicants ever. Never seen so many people at a job fair before," said Stefan Walus, of Lowe's Home Improvement.

Some job applicants said they felt confident about finding work.

"Make sure my resume was up to date, current and very competitive, and just mentally and spiritually prepare myself for the day," job seeker Mebraht Gebre-Michael said.

Others like Richard Single have faced unemployment for years. Single has his master's degree from Florida A&M University and has been searching for a career since December 2010.

"The main obstacle is the high unemployment rate," Single said. "The housing market and the commercial building market here in Florida is pretty slow."

Single said at this point, he will take anything to get by.

"I've applied for lower level jobs such as a cashier working for grocery stores, and they all tell me I'm overqualified, yet when I try to get a job in my field I'm underqualified," Single said.

Another job seeker said she doesn't find the job fair useful.

"Ninety percent of the people here are not taking resumes," recent graduate Lynn Bailey said. "They expect you to do it online, which is kind of a waste of our time to come down here and fight for positions."

Although there were 150 venues at the job fair, they weren't all hiring. Some were just resources for the unemployed or were from out of town.

"The other people that are taking resumes are taking resumes for jobs outside the city of Jacksonville, so I was just wondering why we're having a job fair and looking outside of Jacksonville," Bailey said.

Job seekers said no matter what the outcome is, they're just glad they got the opportunity to put their best foot forward.