Job Fair aims to get Rhode Islanders back to work

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — New numbers released Thursday revealed the unemployment rate in Rhode Island is down slightly, but the state still has one of the highest rates in the country.

With tens of thousands of residents still looking for work, Eyewitness News will continue our commitment to helping people find work by hosting our annual job fair next week.

Chris Varble of Warwick has been searching for months for a full-time job, but says he hasn’t been able to find one that fits his skill set.

“I’m actually from Texas, and looking for a job here in Rhode Island is hard. Not as easy as I thought it would be,” the 26-year-old said. “It seems like nobody here wants to give you a chance.”

Some companies tell us they are willing to give people a chance, however. More than 100 companies and organizations with open positions plan to be at the job fair next Thursday.

“I’m sure we’ll find candidates at this job fair, we do every year,” said Amanda Robitaille, human resources director for the Providence Hilton. “We’re looking for people who are hard-working, dedicated, who want to stay here for several years.”

Robitaille said the hotel has eight open positions, including maids, bartenders, and supervisors. The positions pay between $9 and $13 per hour.

“The challenges of finding qualified candidates to work here is significant,” she added. “Our candidate pool consists of a lot of students who are only here for a limited amount of time.”

Those short-term stints mean there’s a lot of turnover at the hotel, which they’re hoping to avoid.

Last year, 1,600 job seekers attended the event.

The 7th Annual Eyewitness News Job Fair takes place 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick, located at 801 Greenwich Ave. The event is free and open to the public.

Attendees are asked to park at the satellite lot at the Warwick Mall, near Target (look for the Pinpoint Weather Mobile). Free shuttle buses will run between the satellite lot and the Crowne Plaza starting at 945 a.m. There is limited parking at the Crowne Plaza due to snow, and the Greenwood neighborhood will be closed off to parking. Police also ask job seekers not to park in the Lowe’s/Stop and Shop parking lot and attempt to cross Greenwich Avenue.

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