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Brownsville job seekers express optimism

Commissioner Monestime hosts needed job fair

Carla St.Louis | 2/6/2014, 9 a.m.
For the past two years, Brownsville resident Kenneth Rozier has remained financially afloat by working odd jobs in tiling and ...
Commissioner Jean Monestime and a group of job seekers from the Northside Transit Village Job Fair. Left to right: Sammy Jameson, Jacqueline Joseph, Tarod Symonette, Commissioner Jean Monestime, Derisee Francois and Abdul Gaskin. —Photo courtesy of Commissioner Monestime

“I shouldn’t have to drive to Pompano Beach to search for work when I live in Miami-Dade County,” he said. He eventually lost the position due to the “strain of commuting.”

Unemployment strain our families, community

A father of two sons, ages 8 and 11, Gaskin gave his assessment on unemployment in Brownsville and how it effects Black households.

“Jobs are scarce in Brownsville,” he said. “There are too many broken homes and people don’t understand that it’s because of [their] economic situation. An economic situation were the woman is burdened into becoming the breadwinner causes friction within a relationship.

Gaskin continued: "[Job fairs like this] need to be more visible so a father with a criminal background can still provide for his children instead of his woman whose forced to be the breadwinner. Once that opportunity is given he can feel like an authentic male figure that acts as the provider in the home.”

"Its the lack of jobs that push people to commit crimes like fraud and scams--especially people with criminal backgrounds who cannot find work,” said Rozier.

Jacqueline Joseph, 42 who attended with her daughter, Derisee Francois shared similar remarks.

“That’s why alot of children are motivated to sell dope--there’s no ‘honest’ jobs available to them," she said. "These employers make it more difficult to find work. They are just too discouraging.”

Francois, a single mother who lives with Joseph, admitted she "feels financially strained" as her source of income is limited. Although she works on-call, she attended the event to find full-time work in security. “Searching for work is extremely hard," she said. "I’ve been looking for a job for over a year.”

Community wants more job fairs, workshops

Gaskin believes the best way to encourage employers to hire more Brownsville residents is for community leaders to provide training in job skills that are necessary in a volatile workforce. “Instead of giving them fish to eat," he said, "why not show us how to fish,” he asked.

“What discourages me is when employers say, ‘You have a lack of experience.’ They don’t understand that I can’t get experience until you teach me,” said Joseph.

All job seekers polled for this article shared a desire for more job fairs, development workshops and training.

“I find that job fairs based in communities give applicants a better chance of actually being hired,” said Francois. “I’d like to see more job fairs and similar events like development or training workshops.”

Poorly advertised?

“I didn’t hear anything about this job fair from my community,” said Joseph.“I wouldn’t have known until I had an urge to drive down 32nd Avenue because originally I was going to travel on 37th Avenue. I’m on my way to another job interview that starts at 1 pm and while I was passing by my daughter and I decided to stop and apply. It would have been great if it was advertised — at least somewhere like social media or on flyers.”

“It could have been advertised in the newspaper, TV, radio or e-mail,” said Francois. “It would have helped draw a larger crowd. There should have been way more people here.”

However, Monestime's press office said, "It was advertised on the Front Line Radio show" and "flyers were distributed in neighborhood stores as well as posted [at] the Metro Rail station."

On-site hiring employers included LR Structural, CMN Electric, Archon Air, Champ Plumbing, Radiant Fire, Camelot Protection, and Gomez Construction for General Labor.

For more information on Northside Transit Village I, log on to http://1.usa.gov/1flTAmj