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Job seekers flood Genesis Center

Updated: April 11, 2013 7:06AM



GARY — Hundreds of job seekers swarmed the Genesis Convention Center on Saturday hoping to connect with an employer.

About 35 Northwest Indiana employers from U.S. Steel to Horizon Bank met job seekers at U.S. Rep. Peter J. Visclosky’s Jobs and Opportunities Fair.

“We have a long way to go,” Visclosky said of finding work for the unemployed.. “The purpose of today is to connect people.”

At about 14 percent, Gary has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state.

Gary resident Cordero Brady has been searching for work since his layoff a few months ago from Majestic Star Casino where he worked as a dealer.

He came to the fair with his aunt, Kenya Bryant, of East Chicago, who also was checking out her prospects.

Both said the best part of the fair was meeting a representative at Work One and learning how to apply through the agency that works with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

“We could have done most of this at home though,” said Bryant.

Ben Derks, 23, of Crown Point, won’t graduate from Indiana University Bloomington for a couple more months. The business major took time off during his spring break to check out job possibilities.

“I’ve had plenty of jobs, but it’s time to enter the real work world,” said Derks as he stood in line to meet with an ArcelorMittal representative.

Trade unions offered input on apprenticeships and how to apply and get tested.

Bob McGuckin, of Heat and Frost Insulators Local 17 in Tinley Park, Ill., said he spent time informing people what an insulator does. “We do mechanical insulation. It’s itchy, tough work in heights and confined spaces.”

McGuckin said the union is doing testing for new apprentices next month. He said military veterans receive extra points when they take the test.

Guy Staska, vice president of human resources for Horizon Bank, said the fair was busy all afternoon.

“If we can talk about a specific job, we’ll do it,” he said. Otherwise, he referred people to the Horizon’s career section on its website.

“A bank job is a pretty good place to be. We’ve had 13 years of record earnings,” he said.



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