• 77 employers turn out for Tacoma job fair for people at risk of homelessness

    By: John Knicely


    Dozens of people lined up early Tuesday morning outside the Goodwill Work Opportunity Center in Tacoma for the HIRE 253 job fair.  

    The public/private partnership specifically targeted people at risk of homelessness and 77 employers answered the call.

    Zachary Freman was among hundreds of people looking for work.

    “I dropped out of high school at a young age and got my GED,” Freman said.  “And never really found my niche.”

    The hiring event was a collaboration of several organizations including Tacoma Rescue Mission, Catholic Community Services and REACH.  Representatives from WorkSource and Goodwill told KIRO 7 they didn’t have any trouble finding employers.

    “I know we can't provide housing for everyone,” Goodwill Community Engagement Coordinator Kelly Blucher told KIRO7.  “We can't. I wish we could. But what we can do is provide jobs, and that in itself is going to provide some sustainability.”

    There are an estimated 4,800 people experiencing homelessness in Pierce County with 1,400 of them actively trying to join the workforce.

    Tracy Early is a success story with WorkForce Tacoma.  

    On Tuesday, she was working as a paid intern with the Korean Women's Association to hire up to 20 people.  And she’s also looking for full-time employment helping homeless veterans.

    “These kinds of opportunities and networking is critical for anyone looking for a job,” Early said.  

    Wild Waves was one of several employers looking to hire homeless youth.

    “We recognize that people come from all walks of life,” Wild Waves manager Kristen Spafford told KIRO 7.  “Our park is right across the street from Section 8 housing.  We do have a lot of employees who take the bus, they don't have their own transport.  Our managers work with those employees to make sure they're out on time to make their bus.”

    Blucher told KIRO 7 they hope at least 25 percent of people attending will land jobs. And those who don’t land a job will learn what they need to do to get hired.

    Zachary Freman got an interview lined up with Concrete Technology Corporation.

    “It's going to make money and it's going to help my family,” Freman said.  “And that's all that matters.”

    More news from KIRO 7


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