JobQuest draws
job-seekers in
from the rain

The promotional materials advised job-seekers to come dressed appropriately for a job interview and many dressed for success.

Some dressed to impress judges at a booty-music dance contest, while others appeared to have been dressed by Eminem's stylist.

At least two guys made an impression all right, wearing T-shirts that read, "Alcatraz Psycho Ward Outpatient," and "My I.Q. test came back negative."

They were among the 3,500 seekers at JobQuest 2003 yesterday at the Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall, where more than 70 companies, organizations and government agencies hoped to fill vacancies.

"I'm just amazed at how some of these people dress," said one prospective employer.

Among the few gentlemen wearing suits, Mike and Joe gave only their first names so as not to tip off their current employers. Beyond a better job, they were looking for a career.

Berlynn Aquino filled out a job application yesterday with the help of Augie Waiau at the Job Quest 2003 Job Fair at Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall.

Now in its sixth year, JobQuest is produced by Success Advertising in conjunction with Oahu WorkLinks, a consortium of city, state and nonprofit agencies. Success Advertising specializes in recruitment ads for employers but also produces three job fairs a year.

JobQuest is staged in the fall to help companies with seasonal and permanent hires and again in January because "January is when you start your diet and rearrange your whole life," said Beth Busch, western region vice president. The WorkForce event in May is geared toward recent graduates and summer hires.

JobQuest admission cost $1 but was waived for some people who were recently laid off or who are in welfare-to-work programs.

There is no shortage of employers seeking minimum-wage, entry-level employees in the fast-food, retail and visitor industry sectors, but JobQuest has sought to skew up the demographics to appeal to the "passive job seeker," like Mike or Joe who may want a higher-paying, better job at an executive level. Busch cited exhibitors Bank of Hawaii and City Bank as examples.

The health care industry was represented by several companies, including Kaiser Permanente, Tripler Army Medical Center and Hawaii Pacific Health, whose affiliates included Kapiolani Health, Straub Clinic & Hospital and Wilcox Health.

Kaiser has more than 100 nursing positions available in Hawaii, according to its Web site. Hawaii Pacific Health Nurse Recruitment Coordinator Susan Wilson said its affiliates are looking for recent nursing school graduates, experienced registered nurses and nurse managers.

Staffing agency Nursefinders was recruiting for a range of positions.

Many of the Honolulu Police Department's 300 vacancies are due to a rash of recent retirements; it hopes to fill some of them with an officer recruit class in the spring.

Other available HPD positions won't require hires to strap on a gun and pin on a badge, such as openings for computer technicians, mechanics in the vehicle maintenance section or in dispatch. The department also needs school traffic monitors, part-time employees who work two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon, according to Det. Olga Pinero.

In the retail sector, steadily expanding Hilo Hattie was recruiting for in-store and customer service employees for their Web site, according to Human Resources Manager Mike Vasper.

Efforts by the University of Phoenix focused on faculty positions for candidates with master's degrees and real-life experience. "All faculty members have to be engaged in what they are teaching," said Maureen Wood, academic chairman of counseling programs.

The state Department of Education has learned to run its recruitment efforts more like the private sector, according to Dean Sueoka, a resource teacher in the Recruitment and Retention Support Center. "We can't just keep talking about a shortage," he said. The DOE is looking for general and special education teachers, psychologists and speech pathologists.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

E-mail to Business Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --