Posts Tagged ‘Job Fair’

Job fair in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Henry Kerali)

By Henry Kerali

The dust has settled. Battle lines erased. Political ads nowhere to be seen. The election season has drawn to a close. In an intensely fought race, incumbent President Barack Obama and Republican rival, Mitt Romney each pitched themselves to the nation as the best man to lead the country forward in turbulent economic times. After months of deliberation, on Nov. 6, voters went to the polls to cast their ballots. Ultimately, their voices were heard.

And now, two weeks on from Obama’s victory, what do Americans expect from the president as he embarks upon a second term? Furthermore, in an election race where jobs and the economy took center stage, what do the nation’s unemployed hope from Obama going forward in the next four years?

 

At a job fair in Washington, D.C., on Monday, people from the D.C. Metropolitan area and further afield, voiced their concerns about the economy and their job prospects in general. Alvin Bess, 49, an urban planner from Fayetteville, NC, has been looking for work for almost three years. Despite having over a decade of experience, Bess has struggled to find a new job. After going to a number of career fairs in North Carolina, Bess decided to try his luck in the nation’s capital.

“It took me five hours to get here,” he recalled. “I’ve been looking for work since the first part of 2010.”

Bess said although his enforced time off hasn’t always been ideal, it’s allowed him to go back to school to continue his studies. He hopes going back to school will put him in a “better position” to compete in today’s competitive job market.

And while he remains optimistic about his own future, Bess said he’s confident Obama will continue to turn the economy around in his next term. “Things are definitely picking up,” he said. “It will get better. But everyone in Washington needs to work together.”

College Graduates

Bess’ comments were echoed by John Wahab, 24, a recent college graduate from Fairfax, VA. Wahab has high hopes that Obama will steer the country in the right direction. The 24-year-old graduate aspires to work for the federal government after he graduated from the University of Maryland earlier this year. However, Wahab is already concerned that he hasn’t been able to find the kind of jobs that he wants.

“It’s hard, especially for recent college graduates,” he said. “I mean, they don’t have a lot of entry-level positions for guys like me.”

Wahab said employers seem to look for candidates with vast amounts of experience. Moreover, he lamented the fact that so few entry-level positions are available to graduates looking to get their foot through the door.

Wahab’s case is not atypical. Beverly Hunter, 22, from Hyattsville, MD, is another college graduate who’s found entering the civilian workforce tough going. With a degree in business administration, Hunter has been looking for a full-time job for the last five months. But after a string of unsuccessful interviews, Hunter admitted she has grown frustrated.

“It’s been difficult. I have a temporary job, but I’m looking for a career path to start,” she said.

While Hunter added the slow economic recovery hasn’t aided her cause, she took comfort from the fact that she wasn’t the only college graduate struggling to find a job. Nevertheless, she remains cautiously optimistic about the future.

“I have faith the economy will get better,” she said. “But I’m just waiting to see the outcome.”

The Advent of Technology

While some are hopeful of President Obama changing the nation’s fortunes, Laura Roberts, 31, a medical coder from Vienna, VA, is less enthusiastic. Roberts currently works part-time at Michaels Arts and Crafts. She has looked for a full-time position for the last two years and has found job hunting anxiety provoking.

“It used to be that applying for a job meant walking in and filling out a five minute application, but now it means going online and spending hours filling out a form,” she bemoaned.

For Roberts, applying for a job has become a job in and of itself. She believes there isn’t much incentive to move forward in this economy as people are intimidated by the job application process. Furthermore, Roberts said things will only get better when applying for jobs is made easier for everyone. She thinks the older generation especially has become less inclined to look for work due to advances in technology.

“The advent of technology has made things so difficult for us as a nation,” said Roberts.

She feels Obama needs to adopt a system in which the needs of unemployed individuals are addressed. This, Roberts said, would go a long way to resolving the nation’s high unemployment.

“Unemployment would go down because then people would know what they were doing.”

Advertisements