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Puerto Rican job fair hailed a success

By Peter Jasinski

Less than two weeks after hosting a job fair for Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria, staff of the North Central Career Centers say the event was a success for job seekers and employers. “It went well. I know all the employers are happy because we did an exit poll as they left,” said Scott Percifull, a business service representative with the career center. “A lot of them felt they met people who were appropriate for their jobs and there wouldn’t be an issue with language.”

Language, as Percifull explained, has been one of the main obstacles to Puerto Rican refugees looking for work as many don’t speak English. The career fair specifically selected businesses todo some skill-based hiring of nonEnglish speakers, but also promoted services like ESL classes that Percifull said currently have 12 students enrolled.

He also said that some guests of the job fair have already reached out to employers about the positions they were trying to fill. “I’m waiting on the exact numbers still from some of the exit polls, but I do know people made offers to a few of those folks,” he said.

Of all the 16 companies that participated, Percifull said People Ready Staffing seemed to get the most attention from job seekers. “They had more positions that I think were more applicable to the people there,” he said, adding that he talked to one People Ready Staffing employee who spoke highly of the potential hires. “He said he had about two that looked to be very promising.

The North Central Career Centers have one of their regularly scheduled quarterly career fairs next month and they recently hosted a similar event specifically for people with a history of substance abuse and non-violent criminal offenses at City Hall on Thursday.

Depending on the continuing need for employment among local residents who recently left Puerto Rico, Percifull said the career center might hold another event for that community.

Follow Peter Jasinski on Twitter @PeterJasinski53
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