Hundreds turn out for Hanford job fair

Hundreds turn out for Hanford job fair
RICHLAND, Wash. -- The line was out the door and around the building for a Hanford job fair. Bechtel is trying to fill 100 new positions locally, and another 100 elsewhere.

"The line is long. It even wraps around the outside of the building, filled with many candidates from young to old, just looking for jobs," said Justin Campbell.

Clyde Heath has been out of work the past four months. He's had just one interview in that time. Clyde said it's defeating.

"It's tough. You get way more declines than you do job interviews," said Heath.

But today, Clyde is hoping for a shift in status.

"I'm looking for work back as a technical writer or a program element manger or project manager," said Heath.

His story is no different from the hundreds of people who came to the Richland Courtyard Marriott, trying to get a chance at one of the dozens of positions posted by Bechtel. Some of the openings included construction, engineering and general labor. Those are for the waste treatment plant. Although the competition is fierce, it didn't stop even recent graduates from applying.

"It's hard to get your foot in. It requires a lot of experience, and it's hard when you just graduate," said WSU graduate Kevie-Lynn Pederson.

The career fair does come at a good time for the Tri-Cities.The unemployment rate has risen slowly since the fall. Most recent figures are for December, and put our local unemployment rate at 8.8 percent. The numbers are not seasonally adjusted.

Bechtel says it needs to hire quickly.

"We're going to do everything we can to bring them on board as quickly as possible," said Eric Plesset.

Clyde is also hoping they will judge him by more than his resume.

"There's a lot of competition and a lot of unemployed people, and I hope I had enough charm to persuade them," said heath.

There are many others in Clyde's shoes, hoping for the same success.