FAIRLAWN, Ohio - Many people feel they're in the dark when it comes to finding employment these days. That was literally the case Tuesday at a job fair in Fairlawn.
A storm knocked out power for an hour at the Akron Fairlawn Hilton, forcing job seekers to huddle by candles, glow sticks and the light from cell phones to fill out applications.
Despite the unusual conditions, most of people looking for jobs hung around in the dark. Nearly 800 people showed up during the four-hour event geared toward mature workers.
"They're (the employers) extra sensitive to people wanting to stick this out in this situation with the lights being out and everything," said Carl Williams, who attended the job fair.
Moments after the comments from Williams, the electricity turned back on and illuminated the number of senior citizens trying to land a job.
Representatives from Mature Services, which organized the annual job fair, believe the rough economy is forcing many seniors- some in their 80s- back into the workforce.
Don Zirkle, training and placement supervisor for Mature Services, wasn't surprised by the high turnout.
"A lot of mature workers, who were retired, because of the fall in the economy and the market, they lost their retirement," Zirkle said.
And, then there's the case of 61-year-old Linda Hampton, an LPN from Akron. She has been looking for a nursing position with benefits for seven months. Hampton is hoping to land a job so her 71-year-old husband can stop working.
"I want him to be able to fully retire. He's retired a couple of times now and had to go back to work," Hampton said.
Zirkle said many of seniors must learn new skills including networking, cold-calling and technology.
"A lot of what we're doing is helping them to learn how to fill out an application completely and correctly online." Zirkle said.
The Senior Employment Center is a division of Mature Services which helps mature job seekers with resumes and interviewing techniques. For more information call the center at 330-762-8666 or visit their website at www.matureservices.org .
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