Friday, October 12, 2001
City to Hold Job Fair Tomorrow for Workers Laid Off After Terrorist Attacks
By KIMBERLY EDDS, Staff Writer
Travel and tourism workers displaced as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will be able to apply for nearly 2,000 city, county and private sector jobs at a city job fair Saturday, city officials said yesterday.
The event is an attempt to find new jobs for the almost 12,000 private employees in travel and tourism related industries who have been laid off since Sept. 11.
“It is clear that the private sector has taken a big hit,” Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “Our job is to roll out the work that we have and do what we can to assuage the pain that these unsuspecting workers are now experiencing.”
“This is tragedy compounding tragedy,” he said.
More than 50 booths representing city, county, and other entities will be offering job information and testing for displaced workers Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Ahmanson Training Facility near LAX.
City officials say they are expecting up to 5,000 people at the fair.
The job fair is a result of a council directive, spearheaded by Ridley-Thomas, to have the city’s Personnel Department do a complete inventory of all vacant positions in the city and give priority for those jobs to employees displaced by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Not including vacancies in the Los Angeles Police Department, the inventory revealed nearly 250 city job vacancies, Rhonda Sims-Lewis, the city’s Personnel Department acting general manager, said.
Ridley-Thomas’ five-point also asks LAWA to balance the security needs of the airport with the economic well-being of airport employees and their employers when the LAX Master Plan is revised in the coming months to keep as many workers employed as possible.
The LAPD has the most positions to fill, with 1,233 sworn officer vacancies, and the Los Angeles Unified School District has identified 300 cafeteria worker positions that are available.
City exams will be given twice during the fair for potential police officers, 911 operators and clerk typists.
A test will also be administered for prospective detention officers.
Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director Lydia Kennard said the job fair is a good opportunity for workers to find new jobs, especially since the number of unemployed workers as a result of the attacks is expected to rise to nearly 40,000 as layoffs and furloughs continue.
“This is geared toward all skill levels,” Kennard said of the job fair.
As of yet, city employees have not been affected by the layoffs that have rocked the airport and travel industries, she said.
Bruce Whidden, senior legislative deputy for Councilman Dennis Zine, said the fair is a chance for laid off workers to uncover new job skills and try something new.
“This is an opportunity to broaden your horizons,” Whidden said. “Everyone has skills they didn’t even know they had.”
On Tuesday, the Board of Airport Commissioners voted to let Kennard decide if and when to reopen the airport’s CTA and parking structures to private vehicles, which could allow parking attendants and concession employees to get back to work.
Kennard said she hopes all displaced workers can eventually get their jobs back at the airports, but it is hard to say now if that is a possibility.
“We hope that eventually everyone will be able to get their job back, but a lot of that is dependant on if the economy as a whole can come back,” Kennard said.
Sims-Lewis said that some workers may be reluctant coming to the job fair because airports across the country are slowly returning to normal, but they need to realize the uniqueness of LAX’s security concerns.
“Our airport may never come back to the same level it was before,” Sims-Lewis said, adding that the continued closure of LAX’s Central Terminal Area is keeping a lot of workers unemployed.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company