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Congressman Pushing Companies To Hire After Popular Job Fair

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Job Fair

Thousands lined up for a transportation job fair at Chicago State University on Aug. 8, 2011. (Credit: CBS)

Dorothy Tucker Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 Chicago since 1984....
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Three weeks after nearly 10,000 job seekers packed a job fair at Chicago State University, a congressman who sponsored the fair is telling the recruiters to make good on their promises to hire.

Lines of people looped around a building at Chicago State University on Aug. 9, hoping to talk to recruiters at a transportation job fair sponsored by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush.

The crowd grew so large that organizers had to begin turning people away.

As CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports, exactly three weeks later, Rush was pushing recruiters to start hiring after hearing complaints from frustrated job seekers.

Ricky Frazier, a father of five who attended the transportation job fair, said he’s still going online every day and applying for jobs three weeks later.

He had high hopes of getting a job by now, after attending the job fair that Rush sponsored and speaking to representatives from the CTA, Metra and several small transportation companies.

After the fair, the former security guard went online and filled out more than a dozen applications, but has received repeated emails telling him, “Unfortunately, you don’t meet the criteria that we’re looking for.”

Congressman Rush’s spokeswoman, Renee Ferguson, said Frazier might be among many who were rejected or are still waiting for a reply from recruiters who were at the job fair.

Nearly 10,000 people attended the fair, twice as many as expected. Twenty-nine companies attended, promising to fill more than 2,000 transportation jobs.

“They put lots of people in touch with lots of companies,” Ferguson said.

But Rush’s office is in the process of surveying recruiters to see how many actually offered jobs.

CBS 2 called 25 of the companies. While most reported receiving tons of applications, R & D is one of three bus companies that have actually hired anyone.

“He expects people to be hired from this. We would be very, very disappointed if people weren’t actually hired,” Ferguson said.

She said recruiters might need more time to make offers, because many of the jobs require background checks and drug testing.

Although frustrated, Frazier said he is still hoping he’ll hear from one of the companies.

“You got a wife and five kids all depending on you to do something. You have to have money when you got a big family,” he said.

Ferguson said Congressman Rush intends to keep the pressure on the recruiters. She said the state is expected to get $3 billion in the next 10 years for railroad construction and that means more jobs.

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