Anxious Job Seekers Get a Head Start for Monday's Porter Ranch Job Fair

Thousands expected at Shepherd of the Hills Church to interview with potential employers.

Glendy Leslie and Randy Stoll were among the hundreds and hundreds of people who attended the first day of a organized by Shepherd of the Hills, a mega-church at 19700 Rinaldi St. in Porter Ranch.

They are among the anticipated 6,000 job seekers who will be able to interview with about 100 companies Tuesday. The job fair will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

On Monday, there was a choice of 10 workshops to attend including the most popular, “Interview Skills/Resume Writing,” which Leslie sought out.

But before participating in the workshop, the 25-year-old Cal State Northridge graduate had makeup applied and her hair styled all in preparation for Tuesday’s meet-and-greet of potential employers.

Leslie said she learned several makeup and hair styling tips from the experts who volunteered their talents during the two-day job fair.

She even was provided with a free cream-colored business suit and blouses so she could look sharp.

Leslie earned a liberal arts degree, but hasn’t been successful in nailing down a job since she was graduated in June 2011. She currently works as a certified Zumba instructor and a fitness technician at a local woman’s gym. She grew up in Mexico and came to live in Burbank about six years ago.

“I’m looking for an entry-level job in customer service. I’d like to find a job where I can grow,” she said. “I’d rather teach P.E. to children. There’s lots of action around kids and having fun rather than in a classroom setting.”

Leslie said it was the first time she attended a job fair of this magnitude.

“It’s amazing. It’s neat and different,” she said. “The person, who talked during the Internet workshop class, made me feel motivated and (he) stressed that I shouldn’t give up.”

Stoll, a Shepherd church member, is presently employed but the work is not steady.

He had a high paying job. But, then lost it in 2008 when his company downsized.

He picked up another job at half of his previous salary, but that company went under because it expanded too fast, Stoll said.

He can barely pay the rent with his current salary, he said.

Stoll said he’s showing up at 10 a.m. Tuesday and has his eye on about six or seven companies.

“I hope to hand in my resumes, say ‘Hi,’ pick up a business card and get a call for an interview,” he said.

Stoll isn’t looking for an entry-level position he already has skills.

“A company like Time-Warner (Cable) would take minimal training and a truck, and I could be installing cable next week.  In the mean time, I’m going to lift my chin up, go to work and hope that it’ll get better money-wise,” he said.

The “Imagine Job and Resource Fair” is one of several components of the “What If” themes rolled out by church officials over the past several months.

Themes included “Imagine If Everyone Was Free from Addictions,” and “Imagine If Everyone Had Water” and this week’s “Imagine If Everyone Had a Job.”

“We knew we couldn’t find everyone a job … but we could provide the hope and better equip them to enter the job market,” said church Director of Development Paula Cracium.

Cracium said she expects between 2,000 and 4,000 job seekers to arrive on Tuesday and is prepared for 6,000. One hundred potential employers are scheduled to attend.

This is the first time the church has held a job fair of this magnitude. It took about nine months to prepare. Church members donated makeup and clothes.  The nonprofit, Clothes The Deal, supplemented wardrobe items where necessary. The San Fernando Rescue Mission brought a portable shower.  More than 300 people volunteered their time and talents to run the job fair.

And as a bonus, any qualifying person who finds employment at the job fair will receive clothing and gasoline vouchers to help until their first pay check arrives — courtesy of WorkSource which can also be reached at 888-226-6300.

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