By James Walsh
TOWN OF WALLKILL — A tip for job-seekers: Don't approach a recruiter while wearing a T-shirt with a beer company logo spread across the chest, or one that says, "You don't have to be crazy to work here, but it helps."
Those shirts were spotted Wednesday on people supposedly looking for employment at Orange County's annual job fair.
"We want them to be dressed professionally," said Jason Alexander, a recruiter for Verizon Cellular Sales. "That used to be a no-brainer, but now people don't get it."
The fair at the Galleria at Crystal Run drew an estimated 2,000 job-seekers from their teens to middle age and beyond. Representatives of 67 employers collected resumes, directed applicants to online sites, and spoke with everyone approaching their tables on the ground-floor promenade.
"We have 25 percent more employers than we had last year, so that means there are more jobs," said Marie Blair, coordinator of Orange Works, the county's employment and training center, which sponsored the fair.
Enthusiasm to work
Scott Lipnick, a store manager with Finish Line, the athletic apparel company, had sales, stock worker and cashier positions to fill, but he was also eager to find potential managers. He recalled that he began as a manager trainee.
"What I'm looking for is someone with the enthusiasm to work," Lipnick said. "They're dressed and ready and want to work. People come up and say they're just looking for a job. We want people looking for a career."
Other employers included a bus company looking for coach drivers, security firms seeking officers and supervisors, and investment companies needing sales advisers. Numerous not-for-profit groups were also looking for staff, as were military guard units.
Walter Johnson, a job developer for Occupations Inc., helped clients look for work.
"This is an excellent opportunity for my people to see a lot of different job possibilities," Johnson said. "Just because a person has a disability doesn't mean they can't make a good employee. Sometimes it's just the opposite. They're dedicated and anxious to work."
While jeans and T-shirts were seen here and there, others like David Migliori arrived wearing a suit and tie.
He said he was laid off three weeks ago from a human resources position.
"I'm looking for either entry-level accounting or human resources," said Migliori, who lives in Middletown. "I'm picking my way through to see what's here, starting at the temp staffing agencies and then the businesses."
He and some other job-seekers harbored worries about the economy.
"What concerns me most is that there's not an environment for job growth right now," Migliori said. "As taxation and regulation grow, I'm afraid it will get tougher."
Sherry Bujese of Greenwood Lake said she was laid off four months ago. She was working as a human resources assistant and bookkeeper, but her employer's business declined.
"I took a medical-billing course, but I've been having trouble finding something with a lack of experience," Bujese said. "I'm a good worker, a hard worker."
Jalise Stoud of Newburgh said she saw more opportunity in the larger number of employers at this year's fair.
"I'd like to move up," said Stoud, who's employed in store maintenance. "or maybe get a second job for a little more money."