Kenney ignites hope at digital job fair
A lot of people that Marlon Millner sees entering the Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) don’t have the basic skills needed to thrive in the technological job market of today.
There are a lot of job fairs, Millner, the director of communications at the OIC, told AL DÍA. But sometimes a person will attend these fairs and not have a resumé because they don’t know how to type.
On Monday, the Philadelphia OIC held its “Jobs Now: Digital Career Fair in North Philadelphia” in response to the continuing high unemployment rate in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
Attendees filled the rooms of the OIC headquarters on North Broad Street, some with high hopes that they would be hired sooner rather than later.
“People do get jobs through relationships, but when we’re talking about what moves an economy today, it’s people competing for jobs online,” Millner said. “And so what we are doing today is helping ordinary people to a technological lifestyle where they can begin to do all of the things that you and I probably take for granted that we use technology for.”
The digital job fair provided up to 70 computer workstations where attendees could apply for available jobs in real time with help from leading employers in the hospitality and non-hospitality sectors.
Attendees ranged in age — some as young as high school students, others much older than that. A reminder that Philadelphia’s unemployment crisis isn’t bound by age. A true sign of the times.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney stopped by the job fair as well, saying how impressed he was to see people working diligently at the computer terminals. But, Kenney added, there is still much work to be done.
“I will tell everyone here and especially the young folks that you need to be computer literate to be able to apply for anything, because everything is online. There are no more paper applications,” Kenney said. “Our city is doing well in some neighborhoods, but not in all neighborhoods and we need to make sure that is across the board. I walked through this building today, there are people working diligently at computer terminals looking for jobs, there are people working diligently to help them get through the applications and find work.”
The only way to bridge the digital divide that exists throughout Philadelphia neighborhoods is through human interaction and human instruction, Millner added. “I think the position of Philadelphia OIC is that Mayor Kenney has been authentic and that he’s serious about recognizing that their must be shared prosperity in this city,” Millner said.