City's job fair helps workers affected by adult arcade crackdown

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville city leaders hosted a job fair Thursday to help hundreds of unemployed people affected by the city's crackdown on adult arcades.

People like John Brown.

"It's the loss of income which makes it harder each day. So I had to go get public assistance to help me with the medical bills and actually with the food, something I've never had to do before," Brown said. "My hope is to obtain income so that I can take care of my family."

More than 40 businesses and service providers participated in the city-sponsored job fair at the Emmett Reed Community Center.

Job seekers were able to create resumes, interview and speak with several different employers. 

"We've got over 55 employers in there looking for people for work. Unemployment is 3.2% in Jacksonville. There's a great need and there's a lot of people now that need good quality jobs with great benefits," Jacksonville City Councilman Aaron Bowman said.

Dozens of businesses and government agencies, including Amazon, Gate gas station, Duval County Public Schools, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and Jacksonville Transportation Authority will be hiring.

Positions include warehouse, laundry, retail, e-commerce, janitorial, call center, security, hospitality, manufacturing, and more.

"There were plenty of people that came in trying to look for a job that left with smiles on their faces and I'm one of those people," said Francheska Rene. 

There will be another job fair for the displaced adult arcade workers on Oct. 31 at Florida State College at Jacksonville.

That fair, which will also be open to the public, will have more than 100 employers in attendance. 
CareerSource Northeast Florida will have staff on-site at the job fair to assist attendees in connecting with local employers. Attendees are asked to bring multiple copies of their resume.

Goodwill Temps, a program of Goodwill Industries of North Florida, will be present and can hire immediately for both internal and external Goodwill positions. 

All applicants should bring two valid forms of ID (driver’s license, birth certificate, passport, Social Security card). Goodwill Temp staff will assist applicants in creating resumes if applicants do not have one. Some jobs will require on-site drug screening.

Jacksonville's adult arcade crackdown

The city says most of the sites in Jacksonville are now closed. The majority have been condemned. Jacksonville has banned what it calls simulated gambling devices -- computer games that operate like slots and pay out cash. The city also banned the popular fish tables, an electronic game where players shoot simulated fish for cash prizes. 

Kelly Mathis, an attorney for the adult arcades, said they are still looking at their options. Even though they lost on an emergency appeal to stop the shutdown, Mathis is still hoping the judge will conduct a hearing on the matter. He is also questioning why the buildings have been condemned and why owners are not allowed inside to remove equipment.

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