Stockton University’s first job fair in Atlantic City proved a little too popular for some.
More than 4,800 job-seekers attended the Gateway Career Fair this week, where more than 80 employers set up tables at the Atlantic City Convention Center.
“It was our first one, so we weren’t really sure what to expect,” said university spokeswoman Diane D’Amico. “We were anticipating at least 1,000.”
But that was about how many were lined up to get in before the doors opened at 10 a.m., she said.
Atlantic City resident Nora Tamayo was one of them.
She said she waited in line about four hours, but the only information she got was, “You must apply online, here is the address,” she said.
“We were waiting for about four hours for that?” she asked. “It’s a shame. I was so sad.”
Applying online depended on the company, D’Amico said.
“I think some were a little overwhelmed by the volume,” she said.
The Borgata brought in several representatives to handle a large employee pool.
“We answered questions, looked at resumes and talked to people about where they might fit in,” said Borgata customer care manager Carmen Sansweet. “We had 10 people here today and we do a lot of hiring. We want to get people interested in jobs.”
With such a large event, it would be difficult to expect interviews even if the crowd had been smaller, she added.
And some who still were told to apply online did get input from company representatives at the event that would help them in the process.
Samantha Gaskins, who just recently moved to Atlantic City from Sicklerville, was hopeful after her experience.
“It was worth it to come and talk to people,” she said. “I did see someone put stars on my application, so I hope that’s a good sign.”
Gaskins was looking for an entry level job ideally in a customer service area, and also got information about Atlantic Cape Community College’s culinary program.
Anne Goller Tinsley arrived just before 10 a.m., dressed in business attire with heels and 20 copies of her resume.
But she never got to hand out any.
“I waited and waited,” she said. “By noon, I still had about 100 folks in front of me and was not even near the escalator to get upstairs.”
The doors briefly closed around 11:30 a.m. to allow time for those inside to catch up, D’Amico said.
“We’re thrilled that the word got out and people came,” she said. “Our goal was really to raise awareness and say to vendors, ‘There are people here, they want jobs, they’re ready to work.’”
That message was received, some said.
“I got a lot of qualified candidates,” said Thomas Chiusano, a talent acquisition specialist at South Jersey Industries, which has job openings in customer service, IT and sales.
South Jersey Industries is building an Atlantic City office as part of the Gateway Project on Albany Avenue that includes Stockton’s Atlantic City campus.
“A lot of people are excited about us coming to Atlantic City and said they’ve been trying to get jobs with us,” Chiusano said. “They came today to see us face to face. This was a success for us.”
Wesley Wallace said they signed up about 150 good candidates to work as substitute teachers through Source4Teachers.
ShopRite also had a stack of completed job applications that will be reviewed then distributed to hiring managers for eight stores in the region.
“This was a good day for us,” said ShopRite South District HR Manager Gemma Freeman. She said they have both part-time and some full-time positions in different areas to fill.
D’Amico said the university is talking to participants and will review what can be done differently next time.
“This is amazing,” said Brian Jackson, chief operating officer of Stockton’s Atlantic City campus, who coordinated the event. “This is part of Stockton being an anchor institution in Atlantic City. These are the types of things that we can take the lead on as part of our commitment to Atlantic City and South Jersey.”