Hundreds of Kansas City area teenagers and young adults crowded into the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center on Saturday, looking for a summer job.
More than three dozen private firms and two dozen city departments were there taking applications. They were part of Mayor Sly James’ Hire KC Youth Fair, an effort to connect employers with young people who need work.
Deann Warren, 24 and a college graduate, stood patiently in line before the doors opened at 9 a.m.
“I’m hoping to find a job in public relations or digital media production,” she said. “I’m very optimistic.”
A spokesman for the mayor said 1,800 people preregistered for the jobs fair. That’s three times as many as a similar event a year ago.
Well-known employers took applications, including Worlds of Fun, KCPT-TV and the food service firm Aramark. Some of the private companies had paying positions open, while others were looking for interns.
Smaller companies were on hand, too. Donnetta Watson runs the Promise Wedding and Event Space in Kansas City. She hires workers to set up and tear down special events in the community.
“I’ve worked since I was 14 years old,” Watson said. “Every summer I had a job. I understand how important it is to get an early start — a way to make an income, buy school supplies and clothes.”
She said it was her first time at the jobs fair, but she’ll be back.
“We are passionate about hiring our kids and putting them to work,” she said.
Many of those attending seemed passionate about finding a job.
“I want to be occupied for the summer,” said 15-year-old Nathan Walker of Kansas City. “I think I’ll find something.”