Congresswoman Corrine Brown from the third Congressional District of Florida, helped organize this much needed job fair for Central Floridians. A job fair is an opportunity for participants to meet and possibly interview with potential employers from a broad range of industries. This year there were over 63 employers participating. This fair was held at the Amway Arena (600 West Amelia Street.)
When I arrived I was handed a slip of paper that required me to fill out all my personal information. Since I wasn't actually participating in the fair, I decided to write in typos for every bit of information to avoid getting inundated with political mailers. Once the form was filled out I was given an orange armband and I was ushered into the arena along with everyone else arriving. The ushers filled up an entire section of the stadium seating. I started a sketch from this vantage point but then more people started marching in, blocking my view and leaving me no elbow room. I moved to am empty section to the left but then that started filling up as well and an usher told me I would have to squeeze up front. I got up and started walking back up the stadium steps. Ushers kept shouting at me telling me to sit in my assigned area. I finally found a manager at the top of the stadium level. He told me that to sketch I would need not an orange arm band but a yellow arm band. He pointed me in some direction and I started to wander.
I finally picked a spot to sit on the opposite side of the stadium away from ushers and job seekers. I never bothered to get my yellow arm band but I did cut off the Orange arm band since it gave the ushers an excuse to tell me where I could and could not sit.
The Star Spangled Banner started to play and there was a long pause before the participants realized they should stand. This was followed by the pledge of allegiance. A woman took to the podium and shouted out OK everyone go get them! Everyone in the section I had been seated in stood up and started to move towards the ramp to the stadium floor. Ushers started to shout out, "You can't go down right now. Have a seat!" A participant shouted back, "But she said go get them!" The usher had to explain that only one section at a time was going to be allowed on the floor. There were about 5 sections filled up at this point and another section was filling up as well. Many hundreds of people if not thousands were waiting for their chance to show their strengths to prospective employees.
Directly in front of where I was seated, Aflac and the Social Security Administration were busy talking to people. Forms were being filled out frantically at a table in the foreground. Each of the theme parks were represented as was the major branches of the military and police departments. Most of the participants wandering the floor were dressed in their Sunday best but I was also surprised to see some people dressed in tee shirts and shorts. From my quick glimpse of this event it seems obvious that the recession is far from over.