More than 1,000 attend Forbes job fair in Chesterfield

By Melissa Correa - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - This morning more than 1,000 people stood in line under the hot sun hoping to find work at a job fair in Chesterfield.  But in the end several people walked away disappointed.

They spent money on resumes, dressed in their best clothes and stood outside in the sweltering heat only to come to a job fair and find many employers only accept applications online.

Michael Rowe has a lot weighing on Wednesday's job fair.

"I've been unemployed for, come this Sunday, it will be a year," said Michael Rowe.  "I was a warehouse manager and I've been to almost every job fair they've had."

At every fair he carries a five pound folder.

"My resumes are right here in front. My records with the Virginia Employment Commission are right here, my weekly claims."

Today he's showing initiative. Michael was first in line, standing for two hours in hot temperatures.

"The end of the line is on out-of-sight back there."

Once inside people make their rounds to the 75 employers crowded in the L.C. Bird High School cafeteria.  Some have positions open others promise to have vacancies in the near future.  Alan Peterson's search ended with frustration.

"You get up early," Peterson said.  "You go in thinking you're going to look for a job. You come out here. What is everybody telling you 'go online.'"

The man who traveled a half-hour from Disputana just wants to work.

"Everything that they told us here. You could have gotten online and took care of," said Peterson.  And you search for jobs online already? "All over."

A few employers, like the Olive Garden, do take applications on-site.

"My location, we actually need about 10 servers, we need a couple hosts and also a line cook," said Erica Calle with Olive Garden.

But a majority hand out a card and instruct people to log on and fill out an application.

"I won't even bother with any of them because it's a waste of time. None of them ever respond back," said Rowe.

Some people left frustrated.  Others say they will apply online and hope for a call back.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.