With 1,600 jobs to be filled, a job fair for new tenants of Destiny USA and some of the old tenants of Carousel Center, was a very busy place on Thursday. YNN's Bill Carey says it was a rare positive sign for the local economy.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It looked like a mall on the eve of a Black Friday. But this time, the people in line weren't hunting for bargains. They were hunting for jobs.
The hundreds of new tenants in the expansion that will turn Carousel Center into Destiny USA are preparing to hire their staffs. A job fair put those hiring in touch with those hunting for jobs.
“It's the gamut. I mean, it's entry level positions right up to managerial positions. Which, contrary to what a lot of people believe, there's some very, very good jobs in retail. In these restaurants that we're dealing with. And with the entertainment venues,” said mall General Manager Rob Schoeneck.
For an area where the economy has been hard hit by cutbacks in recent years, where most of the economic news has been bad, this job fair represents something of a lottery. A lottery with 1,600 winners.
The job seekers include a number of young people seeking their first job since leaving college.
“I'm looking to get out there, put in my effort. Help America out. Do the American Dream and get back to work like the rest of us,” job seeker Peter Talbot said.
Others have been job hunting for a while.
Kira Scott was making the rounds at the job fair. Doing the paperwork she hopes will interest one of the new companies to make her an offer.
“Right now in Syracuse, I think it's hard to get a job. I've been looking everywhere. And I felt like this would be a great opportunity,” Scott said.
The new stores here are still taking shape, but most hope to be open for business in early August. That means most will need to start hiring and training workers by mid July.
The people who run the mall say that is when people who've wondered about the economic impact of Destiny will begin to get their answer.
Schoeneck said, “That's jobs. It's income tax. Sales tax. All the service people that have to take care of their stores. Delivery people that have to make deliveries. All that stuff equates to good for Central New York.”
And good, the job hunters hope, for them.
The job fair came just as the state labor department was reporting unemployment in New York rose slightly in May to 8.6 percent.