Text and photos by Ron O’Clair
A job fair was held today at CENTRO, 11 Sycamore St. The job fair was aimed at helping Puerto Rican nationals displaced to the mainland by Hurricanes Irma and Maria find jobs in the local area.
This event was by all accounts successful, with more than 60 applicants having attended officially and many more who didn’t sign the register of attendance at the door.
I arrived late, due to a 12-step commitment that I fulfill each Wednesday, taking a substance abuse victim for their weekly appointment at the Anchor Medical Clinic in Hudson. I do this so the person can get their prescription for Suboxone – and stay off the heroin their body is dependent on. I like to believe that I am helping to make a difference, one person at a time, in combatting the opioid epidemic.
I arrived at Centro at 12:40 p.m; the job fair was in the process of breaking up. But there were still several attendees and many booths still in operation. I spoke with Mr. Roberto T. Diaz MCDP, the Director of Institutional Advancement for CENTRO …
… who happened to be at the registration desk that was staffed by Director Janice Ryan Weekes and J.C. Fernandez, Business Services Representative from the Workforce Central Career Center, which has its offices at 340 Main St., here in Worcester. These are the people who were primarily responsible for making this event happen, with assistance from Jennithan Cortes, Business Engagement Team Manager of Workforce Central Career Center.
Numerous companies were committed to being at the event – more than 30 attended! They were: Microtech Staffing, Worcester State University, Saint Gobain, PeopleReady (Worcester) PeopleReady (Marlboro) Riverdale Mills Corporation, Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center, Umass Medical School, YWCA of Central MA, Young Parent Hope, Seven Hills Foundation, Imperial Distributors, CoWorx Staffing, Securitas USA, Masis Staffing Solutions, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health, Family Health Center of Worcester, Inc., Key Program Inc., Branded Management Group/Dunkin Donuts, You Inc., Riverside Community Care, Utility Trailer of NE, Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, HW Staffing Solutions, The Guild of St. Agnes, Worcester Fire Department, RESCOM, Latino Education Institute, as well as the SeedMA program of the Office of Economic Empowerment (from the Office of State Treasurer and Receiver-General) and the Department of Transitional Assistance of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which set up a booth to help those who may need financial assistance. (The SeedMA program @SeedMA.org is in its second year of a 3-year mandate to help establish college savings accounts for children with seed money provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.)
There were a few other organizations that had expressed an interest in attending that, for whatever reason, were not able to attend the event.
All in all, it was quite a worthwhile enterprise that may lead to better lives for folks, with steady jobs for the displaced persons who relocated to Worcester as a result of the poundings the Island of Puerto Rico took from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Also: anyone else who wanted to attend the event to seek employment! Mr. J.C. Fernandez told me he knew of at least four individuals who utilized the job fair who were neither displaced persons nor Puerto Rican nationals. Which goes to show you that members of our community at large benefitted as well!
Joanna Davis, M.B.A. Agency Recruiter & Trainer from the Key Program on the left, and Theresa Burke, Recruitment Coordinator of the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center. They had adjacent tables set up in the meeting hall area where the job fair was held.