One of those sharply attired Hobokenites was José, 39, who has been out-of-work of the past three months and is feeling the pinch.
"I'm interested in a sales job," he said. "That's my preference, but I'd take a maintenance job if it pays enough for me to live off. They say the economy is getting better, but I haven't seen it yet."
José was one of nearly 200 job-seekers who attended a job fair and expo for residents of the Hoboken Housing Authority projects at the local Boys' and Girls' Club Wednesday morning. The event was a joint venture of the Hoboken Housing Authority, the city of Hoboken and the Jersey City Episcopal Community Development Corporation.
A wide variety of businesses and services were represented including retail, restaurants, assisted living facilities, education, non-profit and government agencies, and the health care and medical fields.
Also included were employers in the banking and financial fields, marketing, retail, and other areas. At the event were 17 employers from around the county. They included The Port Authority, PNC Bank, Bon Secours & Canterbury Partnership for Care, and Target.
"This is just one of the many ongoing activities to help our residents find good jobs and improve their lives," said Ruben Ramos Sr., the Housing Authority's program manager. Hoboken Housing Authority operates 1,353 units of low-income housing and is under the auspice of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "Access to opportunity is an important step in the transition from unemployment to self-sufficiency," added Ramos. He said that especially in a tight job environment, it is important to connect job-seekers to companies that are hiring.
Additionally, career counselors and employees from Jersey City Episcopal Community Development Corporation (JCECDC) were present and assisted attendees with job applications and information regarding training and other services related to employment needs. The career counselors gave advice on job-related topics such as education and training opportunities, resumé critiques and interview tips, and the status of the current job market.
Attendees had the opportunity to learn more about potential career and occupational pathways as well as ways to make the transition from welfare to work easier.
"It's still pretty rough out there," said Rigoberto Salas, the general manager of the "gap division" of the JCECDC (for people between employment). "Hopefully events like this one make the entire process a little easier for both the prospective employee and employer, so that the gaps between employment are as short as possible."