INDIANAPOLIS – With about 500 jobs at stake the chances were almost 50/50 that the approximately 1,000 people who applied for seasonal jobs at the Indiana State Fairgrounds would find employment for at least a couple of weeks this summer.
“They want people that want to work,” said applicant Denise Whitfield who has worked the Indiana State Fair before. “They don’t want people that stand around collecting the money doing nothing.”
Many of the applicants are returning to the fair to reclaim jobs they held in past summers.
“Some of these people have turned out to not only be great workers,” said fair spokesman Andy Klotz, “but available each year so they have come back and we will hire people year after year who are our seasonal employees because we depend on them.”
Each summer the fair fills hundreds of parking, security, concession and clean-up crew jobs.
“Everybody joins this occasion in the summer,” said Evon Vales. “It’s an outside job. You don’t have to be trapped in one place for outside breeze.”
Vales was hoping to land a job in a concession stand.
“I’m really good at talking to people.”
The job fair comes as city leaders are gearing up a program to find summer jobs for teenagers.
The Your Life Matters 5k Run/Walk sponsored by the Department of Public Safety already has $20,000 committed to funding summer jobs for youth.
“We need volunteers, those services need volunteers, but we also need revenue,” said Public Safety Director Troy Riggs. “It costs money to employ young people over the summer.”
Riggs is seeking more private, corporate and faith-based community financial help as well as participation in the first-ever event.
“It’ll be our first jobs program for the summer so we’ll have some young people there working,” said Riggs. “The other thing is that we will have some of these service providers doing outreach for youth that will be there so people can talk to them about volunteering, giving money, making sure we’re doing everything we can to help our youth.
“I think it’s pretty stark to hear a young person say, ‘I don’t have anyone who cares about me.’ As the city of Indianapolis, we want to show that we care about our young people.”