Nearly 10,000 Attend Transportation Job Fair At Chicago State

Updated 08/09/11 – 5:10 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — With renewed worries about the economy in the wake of the downgrade of the nation’s credit rating, nearly 10,000 people showed up for a job fair hosted by Congressman Bobby Rush on Tuesday.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, everyone from the CTA to Southwest Airlines to railroads and the military were on hand at Chicago State University for a transportation job fair.

And, as CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports, as of 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, nearly 10,000 people had turned out.

Ray Abrams, 45, was among the first in line for the job fair Tuesday morning.

“I’ve got qualifications. I’ve been to college. I’ve had job experience. I’ve done some of everything in my life,” he said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

Abrams is doing his best and working part time in Tinley Park.

“After the concerts, I’m a groundskeeper. I clean the grounds,” he said. “That’s only two days out of the week. When I bring that home, that’s $135.”

Abrams is a proud man – confident and positive.

“I’m strong, man – my wife’s strong, and we make it,” he said. “I’m not struggling. My family eats; we eat every day.”

Stephanie Watson arrived for the job fair at 5 a.m. and waited in line in a lawn chair.

“I know it’s a job fair – I know how many people don’t have a job, and how many people would be here, so I knew it was best to be early,” she said.

Watson woke up with a mission Tuesday morning.

“I’m looking for anything they will give; ideally I am rating customer service,” she said.

Watson has been unemployed for the past nine months. For her friend, Candace Mitchell, it’s been three years.

One by one, dressed to impress, people began filing in. Behind them, the line outside wrapped around the sidewalk, with each person desiring one of the many thousands of transportation-related jobs available.

Ricky Frazier, a father of six, lost his security job two years ago. He said he’s looking for anything that offers a paycheck.

“I’m their daddy. I’m supposed to be able to get them what they need and, as a husband, I’m supposed to be able to get my wife what she needs,” Frazier said.

He was just as desperate as the other thousands of men and women who filled the auditorium at Chicago State University and who stood in long lines in the hot sun to get into the job fair – a scene illustrating the pain of the economy.

At one point, the university passed out free water to those who had no intention of leaving.

Twenty-nine companies from the transpiration industry distributed information about job openings. None of the recruiters expected the response they got on Tuesday.

“It’s actually been overwhelming for us. We started running out of some flyers that we had brought in and some of our material because there was just so many people here,” job recruiter John Ramonez said.

The crowd was so overwhelming that at 2 p.m., organizers began to turn people away.

Ron Durr had driven to the job fair from Naperville, but he was among those turned away.

“I drove all the way from Naperville … trying to find some employment.”

Recruiters say they have plenty of positions to fill.

When asked how many drivers her company was looking for, Cheryl Jackson of the Illinois Central School Bus Company said: “As many as we can get. School is about to start.”

“We have ramp agents – the gentlemen who load the planes, operations, boarding customers, or customer service,” said Southwest Airlines recruiter Rodrigo Cervantes.

Metra is also hiring, with plans now going ahead for the Englewood Flyover Project. The north-south bridge will carry Metra Rock Island Line trains over east-west Amtrak Norfolk Southern trains and transcontinental freight tracks above 64th and State streets, and it recently received $133 million federal dollars.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) helped bring the project to Chicago, and he says in the days to come, it will require about 1,400 permanent jobs.

He says with this project and many more transportation jobs out there: “A lot of them will be hired today. I’m more than confident. I’m sure.”

Rush said in these hard economic times, the transportation industry is booming, and it’s overlooked. He wanted to bring in as many transportation companies together as possible.

Rush also said he expects the companies that attended the job fair to follow up with real job offers.

  • Concern

    Charity Search Engines

  • Leroy Whitby

    President Downgrade sucks.

    • Judith Ne

      Kudos to all the people who showed up to find a job instead of sitting around whining and signing up for welfare. Don’t give up, if you’re out of work, start your own business, volunteer somewhere, work a temporary job or even offer to work for free for a week to open a door athat may not otherwise be open.

      Don’t be discouraged.

  • Paul Konerko

    10,000 people, I wish them the best of luck. It’s too bad they were all duped three years ago by a clown named Obama

    • Keep Honkin I'm Reloading

      And yet, they will vote for him again.

      Useful idiots

      • Olympia Guy

        and that is why they deserve to be unemployed. people that vote Obama AGAIN deserve to be on the streets. they are destroying my children’s future by putting that lying corrupt SOB back into the White House to finish destroying America.

    • Dougie fgresh

      AMEN brother…one thing Obama can do ince he knows how to raise money when it comes to re- elections, I say instead of doing fund raisers for his re-election, and since these people contributing to his campaign care so much about our country at 38,500 a pl;ate, her should take that money and put it towards the deficit……

  • Karan Tucker Herring

    Work? At a job? Every day? Are you nuts? Obama was supposed to take care of everything.

  • sparefoot

    This is incredible. Its so sad to see our country come to this…2012 can’t get here soon enough.

  • jb

    I’m proud of every one of these 10,000 who aren’t satisfied sitting at home living off of the state. this confirms my faith in American people.

    • qwertyuiop

      They had to prove they are looking for work to get unemployment. 10,000 showed but only 3 actually wanted job.

    • RJ

      job or no job, they still get public aid. that’s why this country is broke.

      • Kate

        You Complain When People Don’t Have a Job, You Complain When They Look For One,Will You Make Up Your Mind. And B.T.W How The F**K You Know They Receive Public Aid.And If That’s True,There’s a Lot Of Us White People Receiving It Also. In This Recession Most People Are Looking For Work.Regardless of Race.S.O.B….And You Don’t Want Them To Find Work Anyway.Because You Need Something To Complain About.

      • Carl Trailkle III

        @Kate. Is there something wrong with your computer? Are you just plain stupid? What’s up with the caps? I doubt you’ll be landing any sort of job anytime soon.

  • mcnertny

    And how many were actually hired????

    • TexanPatriot

      Ah, the thing is….very few jobs are actually handed out at the job fair…nobody really hires on the spot! If they’re trying to fill a specialized position, they have to sift through 10,000 resumes for the maybe 10 they think are the most viable candidates, and then call them back for a phone interview, if some of those check out, they get to come in for an HR interview, then they’ll pick 2 or 3 of the “best” to talk to the manager or hiring authority.

      But yet the levels of despair are so high, there are people who actually believe they will walk out with an actual job they start tomorrow….

      Folks, it RARELY works that way, so no since in people sitting in lawn chairs at 5AM, because it’s not a function of the first one in gets hired!

      • Obama Money

      • Keep Honkin I'm Reloading

        Exactly… not to mention these “job fairs” are encouraged by Libs and “community Organizers “… and paid for with(grants) ie taxpayer $$ for no other reason than creating the fallacy that folks are getting hired and jobs are “available”

        It all fits nicely in Fauxbama’s teleprompter

    • geno

      This is really sad, It was just a voter register drive. Obama needs a miracle!

  • TexanPatriot

    I actually feel sorry for all of these Socialistic places in the country who are having this problem…. And how lucky I am to be a TEXAN, where we aren’t having this despair here….

    • fellow Texan

      Have you left your house lately? Or are you just reading the press about Rick Perry.

      • Karan Tucker Herring

        Yep. I go to work every day along with the 94% of other Texans who have jobs.

      • Olympia Guy

        if you are an obama voter, then i’m happy you are one of the 6% in Texas without a job. I would actally feel sorry if someone else, who did NOT vote for the horrible Obama, lost their job instead of you.

    • Judith Ne

      It is true that jobs are better in TExas (and ALaska and the Dakotas) except where the bommunist has used the EPA to destroy jobs—his favorite thing to do after waste what other people have worked for.

      And while yes, those who voted for him should be the first to lose their jobs and cought up double the tax $$ as justice and a warning, don’t let the bomunist divide and conquer as he is trying to do.

      These are still felllow Americans, and may the hard times wake them up and teach them to work for what they want and need, not use govt to steal from others. Don’t be tainted by liberal hate.

  • Joe Mellon

    Sad thing is many of these people will not get a job and many of these people will vote for you know who come 2012.

  • Darryl Cunningham

    I see the Obama Economy is humming right along as many of us predicted 3 years ago. We warned the Obama voters this would happen, but they were so full of “Hope and Change”, they couldn’t comprehend.

    • Caryn

      And what was the ecomony doing when Bush was in office? NOTHING. HE IS THE CAUSE OF ALL THIS

      • Marmaduke

        Full employement and a AAA credit rating to start Caryn!!!

      • Darryl Cunningham

        During Bush, there was 4.5% unemployment and our 401k’s weren’t in the toilet.

      • Frank

        Ignorant and foolish is no way to go through life, Caryn.

        When does THE ONE begin to take credit/blame/responsibility? 2012? 2014? NEVER????

      • ken williams

        I think Belushi said it best . . . “Fat Drunk and Stupid is no way to go thru life”

      • truthteller

        Actually the first four and then next two years of the second term we were almost fully employed, even with 9/11. Things did get really bad until Pelosi became speaker
        With the news out today that the monthly unemployment rate had “fallen” to 9.7 percent, I decided to look back at the monthly figures for President George W. Bush’s two terms at the White House. The numbers are revealing. The highest monthly average prior to the late 2008 financial crisis was 6.3 percent. His overall monthly average was 5.3 percent.

      • tredglx

        Another victim of Bush Derangement Syndrome, I see.

        Union much, Caryn? Or are you not even that bright?
        HOPE and CHANGE working out for you dearie?

        My advice to all who voted Democrat last trip:

        If you voted for Obama to prove you weren’t a racist, vote against him in 2012 to prove you aren’t an idiot.

      • tredglx

        @ Ken:

        That was Dean Wormer, to Flounder.


        “We Are The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For” –

      • Whitfield Greeger

        Oh..for Pete’s sake Caryn,
        are you blind, deaf AND dumb????

      • Dougie Fresh

        Negative…..we had jobs then…….we don’t now…Obama is a moron…has no business running anything he has no prior experience in….

    • Bruce Brinkmann

      Dey still be waitin fur dat stimulus chech dat be commin in da mail. It be comin any day now cuz obama says so.

  • D. Lear

    They have 23 Housekeeping Jobs at Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver, Wa. [Portland area] $13/hour plus full Medical coverage, they can not fill. What is going on in this country. Is that to low a wage [with the benefits I figure that is about 20/hr]? Get out and look people. Yeah the weather stinks but…….

    • kwe

      oh come one there are millions of illegals who would have scoffed those jobs up the first hour they came available… no way

  • Marmaduke

    This is Obama’s America, soup lines, unemployment lines, job fair lines and voting lines to get him re-elected. Look at the people involved 98% of them voted for Hussein in 2008 and 100% of those morons will do the same in 2012…This is the fate of the un-educated scourge on our society!

    • RJ

      No, they just want their handouts

  • MY 2

    Even 0bamaland (Chicago) is an 0bamaville now.

    Haha, suckers !

  • Jane Johnson

    10,000 attended but how many were actually hired? I’ve yet to see a job fair that wasn’t a farce. They are a huge waste of time because when you get to the front of the line at a table, they tell you “apply online.” I actually went to one table for a government agency who said they weren’t hiring because there was a job freeze. So why were they at a job fair? It’s a JOKE.



  • Darryl Cunningham

    The United States of America has now turned to the Welfare States of America.

  • kf

    This is not really Obama’s fault, this is Democrat Governor Pat Quinn’s fault. He raised income and corporate taxes significantly. Illinois is losing a lot of corporations. He pays the larger ones to stay but others are leaving. The most recent from last Friday is CN Railroad moving a trainyard from Markham, IL to Gary, IN, along with 250 jobs.

  • thethinker

    What % of the peole in Chicago are on some type of fedral or and state aid–how many pay no tax’s–who do you think they will vote for–they do not care about the U.S. they care only about the free Obama Aid. Do you really think they will not vote fo BO and free b’s in 2012? Chicago is not a great city any more they are a WELLFARE STATE!

    • AnonSC

      Get spellcheck or a dictionary!


    the only way out of this mess is RON PAUL2012..

    • Bruce Brinkmann

      Well thank God! Restore the Constitution. Liberty, prosperity and peace. Good to know you’re out there brother. Ron Paul in 2012……..

  • Mike Papadopoulos

    Reminds me of a 3rd world country. Remember the time that a job posted for minimum wage ($5.00 per day) to be a street sweeper in Bogota, Colombia and over 10,000 people showed up to apply for that one job opening? I wonder how many of the people that showed up for this job fair in Chicago voted for Obama wishing for some hope and change?

  • Concerned American

    Also, good news! In honor of the chosen one and the great work he is doing on our economy our leaders are issuing a new stamp to millions for free.

    Its Food Stamps. He is the Food Stamp President.

    God help those that chose this incompetent fool.

    Good Bless America

  • Tina F.

    People, unless you have family or some other reason to be in Chicago get out while you can if you can. Our firm are specialist in demographics, geographics and sociology. Chicago is dieing from the inside out. You smell it but you won’t see it until it’s too late. Sorry……

  • qmmmhaz

    10,000 showed but only 3 acyually wanted a job. The other 9997 needed to show they applied for something in order to get unemployment check.

    • awqnna

      It was all a micommunication. The local paper said that a new Chicken-n-Waffle house was opening.

  • mazzup

    I feel real bad for the “sell out” wearing the suit in the middle of the picture. The job fair was staged to ‘out” the individuals “not keeping it real”.

  • Stoddard

    Don’t worry, Obama’s on the case. You’ll all have a job, for 1 day, in November 2012. You’ll be paid to vote for THE ONE again. Cigarettes, wine or maybe, if you’re really good, a little of that walkin’ around money (not that it will buy much by then).

    • mazzup

      They better not fill out a W-2, that would make them eligible for less of our hard earned, free money.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live