Increasing demand results in job fair for Augusta's Hispanic community

Goodwill hosted a job fair targeted toward Augusta's Hispanic population. (WRDW-TV / Oct. 13, 2011)

Goodwill hosted a job fair targeted toward Augusta's Hispanic population. (WRDW-TV / Oct. 13, 2011)

News 12 First at Five / Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- One out of every 10 people in our area is unemployed. So any time there's a job fair, the lines are long.

One on Thursday had as many as 150 jobs up for grabs, but this career expo was a bit different. For the first time, Goodwill Job Connection had a job fair targeted toward Hispanics and Latinos. This population makes up 11% of those needing work.

When the doors opened at Goodwill, a long line of people hoped it would open doors of opportunity.

"As soon as I saw the line outside, I said, 'This is incredible, what a great opportunity,'" said Pastor for Christ Lives Baptist Church Max Guzman.

Guzman came to translate and support. More than 20 employers who visited the Goodwill Job Connection site were looking for bilingual and Spanish-speaking workers.

"At this moment, I want to get a better job than I have now," said job-seeker Jorge Trujillo.

That's because Trujillo has been doing side jobs since he got to our area in 2003, but now wants to establish a career.

"The Hispanic market is going up every day," Trujillo said.

This expo is proving that. More Hispanics coming to our area caused this job connection site to have a fair just for them.

"Besides any political agenda, they are here in our area -- families, kids. So, why not be a proactive community?" Guzman said

Tania Cotayo has been in the area for three years and wants to find work.

"I see that they are trying to help us find work and we are thanking God that we are going to reach our goal of working in the state of Georgia," Cotayo said.

Cotayo said she's looking for a job that gives her economic stability.

Stability -- opportunity in the form of a job -- and for job-seekers like Cotayo and Trujillo, they hope this expo is what will open that door.

Employers at the fair included H&R Block, Home Depot and Georgia Health Sciences University.

"It's been so successful we've had to turn away vendors from coming," said Susan Everitt, communications director at Goodwill.

Goodwill was able to put this fair together with a grant they received solely to help put Hispanics back to work.

With more Hispanics in the area, they wanted to target a market that knows Spanish, but everyone was welcome.


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