Job seekers stood today outside of Strawberry Mansion Community Development Corp. holding resumes and cover letters.
Their ages varied, but they all had one goal and that was to get a job. Some were dressed business casual while others wore jeans and a hooded sweatshirt as they waited for the next 10 people to be let into the building to possible get a job. The people were patient and conversations were mostly about job hunting or people who’d recently gotten employed.
The corporation and Strawberry Mansion Neighborhood Action Center, Inc. sponsored the one-day-only event where residents could fill out applications and get an interview on the spot for the new Dollar General at Sedgley Plaza.
“The jobs are hard to find out here. To sustain the quality of life you need that [a job], you can’t do it on welfare,” said Strawberry Mansion resident Margaret Grazier, who was in line to fill out an application. She was one of the first in line two hours before the 9 a.m. event.
By 9 a.m. the line had already started from the corporation’s 2829 W. Diamond St. steps to the end of the corner. The group of 50 people said they found out about the event through a friend, family member or a flyer.
The CDC got the word and fliers out only two days before and the turnout was somewhat expected even on a short notice.
“I kinda could expect this turn out with this economy,” said Tyrone Williams, the community liaison for the corporation. “People are desperate for jobs.”
President and Executive Director of CDC Tonnetta Graham said the organization is working for commercial development to come into the neighborhood and getting jobs for Strawberry Mansion residents from those new developments.
Many of the residents said they’ve filled out applications online or have gone to job fairs in Center City or outside of the city, but they said they liked having an application opportunity in their neighborhood.
Khalli Nuwsome said it has been hard to find a job after getting out of prison.
“They are quicker to pay you in the joint [prison]. They should have you come out and have a clean slate.”
Other attendees said they and many other residents have felonies and that makes it harder for residents to get a job, even when there are job openings.
“It’s a crying shame because you are talking about rehabilitation, they need to be accepted back into the society,” said Williams about returning inmates. Williams said many inmates get out of jail and don’t have IDs and that makes it tougher to get employed.
Graham said applicants who have an arrest record can make their case during the interview and she said she expects people to be hired.
“If you are going to be in our area, then our residents need to take part in this,” Graham said about new development and jobs in Strawberry Mansion.