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    Sunday, May 26, 2024

    The Day job fair brings more than 500 to Hilton Mystic

    Michelle Crandan, left, human resource specialist with Waterford Public Schools, talks with Tony Rizzuto of Norwich during a job fair hosted by The Day, Thursday, March 28, 2024, at the Hilton Mystic. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    From left, Michael Meakem, a recovery coach, and Stefanie Delgado, an employment specialist with the Southeastern Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, speak with people about SCADD during a job faird Thursday, March 28, 2024, hosted by The Day at the Hilton Mystic. SCADD had entry level, licensed and recovery culture training positions available. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Mystic ― More than 500 people had flowed through The Day’s Spring Job Fair before noon Thursday at the Hilton Mystic, the event’s biggest crowd in years.

    Organizers described lines that stretched to the end of a hallway by 9:30 a.m.

    “I’ve never seen anything like it before,” said Louvenia Brandt, regional advertising director for The Day Publishing Co., who greeted people outside a packed meeting room where job seekers were dropping off resumes and meeting prospective employers.

    “It’s been great, busy,” said Nancy Gartley, a disability resource coordinator at the American Jobs Center in Montville.

    “It’s actually been incredible, a lot of people coming in,” said Dorothy Burdick of Apple Rehab, which has more than 70 locations where it can slot people into positions. Burdick said she was seeing people from all over, including Norwich and New Haven.

    “I think there are so many opportunities for employment in southeastern Connecticut,” said Matthew Glas, another recruiter for Apple Rehab.

    Ana Mouradjian, human resources manager for Big Night Entertainment, which is opening a new jazz bar called Grace by Nia at Foxwoods Resort Casino, said she was pleased by the high turnout, as she was seeking almost 40 staff members for the Boston-based company.

    “It’s been amazing; we’ve had a great turnout and found several great candidates,” added Allison Horton, recruiter for the Old Lyme-based educational organization LEARN.

    Job seekers were a diverse crowd, many well-dressed with resumes in hand. One of those was Cory Calamari of Groton, who said he was recently laid off after Verizon outsourced his job and 5,000 others. He spent time as a stay-at-home dad, but said now it was time to get back to work.

    “I’ve been at it for a while,” said Calamari, who sent out more than 500 applications with only three callbacks

    Ginny Averett Kuhn of Andover said she lost her job a few weeks ago after many years as a real estate property manager. She allowed that she’d possibly like to explore a new career.

    “I’m just coming to see what’s out there,” she said.

    Mike Duffy of Middletown, new to Connecticut, said he had been laid off from a job in data curation at the DISH Network after recently buying a house. His wife is working, but he said he’s looking for a job, perhaps in a “green” field. He had stopped by at the Davis-Standard table where he saw a flyer promoting the company’s sustainability initiatives.

    Calamari, the Groton job seeker, said he was surprised at the large turnout Thursday considering the low unemployment rate nationally and in Connecticut below 5%. But Brandt, The Day’s advertising and marketing leader, said she believes the current economy is what drove people out.

    All Calamari knew is that it was good to attend an event with so many job possibilities.

    “Coming in here and actually talking to people helps,” he said. “It’s all about meeting people and getting your name out there.”

    l.howard@theday.com

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