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Students descend on job fair


More than 3,000 students came to the Tarrytown Marriot looking for work.

The Westchester County Association (WCA) recently hosted Recruit Westchester, where more than 3,000 students and alumni from 14 local colleges and universities met 100 potential employers with more than 1,500 employment opportunities, ranging from Entergy to CVS.

The WCA called this its first step in its Blueprint for Westchester, designed to keep young people living and working in the county.

“Through our collaboration, we are helping streamline the process for employers and jobseekers to fill over 1,000 jobs and internship opportunities,” said Marissa Brett, WCA’s Executive Director of Economic Development.

Students were bused from institutions like Sarah Lawrence College and Mercy College, all looking for employment, which has become increasingly difficult for graduates in the recession.

John Tolomer, president and CEO of Westchester Bank in Yonkers, said they were looking for entry-level teller positions.

“We want to recruit people here from Westchester,” Tolomer said. “They understand our customers and their concerns. We have local people reviewing local applications, while other places send it off to Chicago.”

Tolomer said that Westchester has a tremendous pool of talent and said that the event was fabulous.

“I have met a lot of different people and taken a lot of applications,” Tolomer said.

Verna Cason, a regional recruiter for Entergy, said an event like this is a way to find great talent. Cason said Entergy was looking for a variety of positions, from engineering to marketing to security.

“It’s important to keep young people and young talent in Westchester,” Cason said. “They can keep their options open.”

Roger Perez, district manager for CVS in Westchester, said that finding people jobs in Westchester is a way to stimulate the local economy. CVS was looking for store managers and shift supervisors.

“We want to reach out to the community and get people working again,” Perez said.

Kevin Joyce, executive director of student life and career services at Mercy College, said he is always looking to help match his students with prospective employers. He was impressed with the turnout and the demeanor of the jobseekers.

“This is a collaborative event among Westchester colleges,” Joyce said. “Look at how well dressed and articulate our students are. I saw some resumes and was very impressed. There is such a high energy level here. The big winner is Westchester County.”

The big spotlight was on the jobseekers, hoping a day like this could help them avoid being a statistic in unemployment reports. Aside from booths with employer after employer, Careerbuilder.com had a room where jobseekers could have their resumes reviewed by a resume expert.

John Perri, a retired fire captain for the Scarsdale Fire Department and Mercy graduate, said he was attending the fair with his son to see what was out there. He said the resume review was very helpful.

“They gave me very good suggestions on how to format my resume,” Perri said. “I am looking for something to do post-retirement. The job fair is very helpful and productive.”

Perri said that resume tips included listing objectives and making sure to use the same font.

Tori Gibbs, who is graduating from Sarah Lawrence University in May, said that she wants to remain in the area and that she found the job fair productive.

“It helped me narrow what I want to highlight about myself and what I might want to do after I graduate,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs said she would like to work in a humanities-centered career, particularly at a nonprofit. She said she was nervous about life after graduation.

“This fair showed me that there are positions available,” Gibbs said. “It’s good to see what’s out there. It was a big help.”

Jennifer Colon, who is graduating from Manhattanville College, said her first career fair was a good experience. Like other graduating seniors, Colon is nervous about leaving the confines of college.

“I know where I stand right now,” Colon said. “But after college, I don’t know where my life is headed. I want to stay in Westchester, but it depends where I get a job.”

Both Gibbs and Colon said that their schools were very aggressive in getting the word out about the job fair and making sure there was transportation to and from the event.

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