BRADENTON -- Nearly 100 people showed up to the community job fair at the 13 Av Dream Center Thursday, hosted by State Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg.
The job fair, which featured 25 employers, was a partnership with the Manatee Metro Action Plan, started by dream center director Patrick Carnegie to combat crime and promote economic development.
"One of the best things you can do for any community is give them opportunities to feed their family, to prosper and to grow. That opportunity comes in the name of job," said Rouson.
He said opportunities also come in the name of education and public safety, and those things are done to increase the likelihood of jobs. The opportunities help communities survive.
"We wanted to find a way to add to that and bring jobs to people in these tough economic times," Rouson said.
The job fair was held in the gym of the dream center and bouncing basketballs were replaced with bodies bouncing from vendor to vendor seeking employment.
Wal-Mart was one of the employers at the job fair. James Pellerin, a Wal-Mart training coordinator for personnel, said although he told people to fill out an application online, he wrote down all the names of people who visited his table.
"I'm making a list of names and once they fill out the application, I tell them to give me a call personally and then I can pull the application and we can review it," said Pellerin, who works at the store on University Parkway and Lockwood Ridge Road.
Among the companies hiring were the school district of Manatee County, KFC, the U.S. Army and APAC Customer Service Inc. Tennille Moore, Rouson's district secretary, said people who could not make the job fair can call their office for a complete list of who is hiring. She said they hope to host this job fair annually.
"We were thinking for the community with everything that's going on, we wanted to do something positive," Moore said.
Carnegie, founder of the Manatee Metro Action Plan, said when he heard that Rouson wanted to host the job fair he offered the dream center as a place to have it.
"The whole thing is to partner with agencies," Carnegie said. "It was a great fit for what we were trying to do here."
He said the job fair ties into the action plan's commitment to provide economic opportunities.
Starting in January, the organization's economic opportunity committee will begin meeting.
People who want to join the committee or who want information about job opportunities should call the dream center at 941-746-7470.
For information on the job fair call Rouson's Manatee County office at 941-708-8570.
Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate.