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Unemployed Look For Possibilities at Job Fair

Long lines and expectant faces awaited prospective employers at Cong. Dan Lipinski’s (D-3rd) first-ever job fair last Friday.

On Oct. 7, Lipinski hosted a job fair at the Bridgeview Community Center, 7900 S. Oketo Ave., to help residents who are unemployed or underemployed network with potential employers.

Participating businesses included Cintas Corp., Metra, Pace, and Walgreens, among others.

In his general statement to the attendees, Lipinski emphasized his five-point Jobs Plan as one of the keys to creating sustainable jobs for Americans.

The five points focus on strengthening manufacturing, investing in innovation, educating the workforce, rebuilding America’s infrastructure and leveling the international playing field when it comes to jobs.

ÒThese are the five things we need to do, not just to get people back to work today, but also for the future,” Lipinski said.

When asked how he feels about Obama’s proposed jobs bill, which failed to pass the Senate earlier this week, Lipinski replied that, while there are certainly parts of it he likes, he thinks that a two-year transportation structure bill would do more to help the unemployed.

ÒTo me, that is the number one way to put people back to work immediately and also fix the problems with congestion,” he said

But would this bill create Òshovel-ready” jobs?

Lipinski thinks so, but his priority is to pass a bill that would create long-term jobs for the American workforce, not just short-term fixes.

Projects such as the Central Avenue Underpass are bigger projects that cannot be completed with money from a stimulus package, which does not provide the means for creating long-term employment opportunities, he said.

But Lipinski stated that his job is not limited to what happens in Washington D.C., and so the job fair is a means to do what he can for area residents and constituents.

Ted Petry, 56, has been out of work for three years despite 40 years of experience working with computer systems.

He acknowledges that his age has played a major role in his inability to find a job and says he Òfeels like a dinosaur because of the newer technology.”

ÒMy skills are no longer as necessary to consumers as they once were because problems can be fixed by automated systems,” Petry explained.

But the weak economy seems to be hitting all age groups hard.

Steven Chamberlain, of Oak Lawn, graduated from Moraine Valley Community College with a degree in Culinary Arts and Hotel and Restaurant Management but plans on going back to school to further his education.

At 28, Chamberlain has been working as a chef in downtown Chicago for the last few years but is currently looking for something more sustainable.

He explained that, due to a lot of turnaround, he is expected to do more with less and the job fair would give him a better idea of what’s out there.

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