Hundreds line up for aerospace job fair

EVERETT — Nearly 300 people showed up during the first hour of a job fair held Wednesday at the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center near Paine Field.

Job seekers were lining up around 7 a.m., long before the three-hour event began at 10, said Raphael Madison, a marketing director for Edmonds Community College, which coordinates training at the aerospace center. By 10:30 a.m., parking was scarce and the line of people waiting to get into the job fair wrapped around the side of the building.

The Boeing Co.’s booth was the biggest draw, though more than a dozen other companies were represented. The line to talk to Boeing’s representative was 100 people deep by 11 a.m. People willing to wait in line long enough walked away with a Boeing bag for their troubles.

“You can see that a lot of people are here to talk to Boeing,” said Larry Cluphf, director of the training center. “But we’re encouraging them to talk to these other companies as well.”

If job seekers lacked the skills necessary to work for any of the companies represented, job fair organizers directed them to the training center’s information booth or to other education organizations on hand.

Clint Larson braved the Boeing line. He already has applied online for four positions at Boeing. The company was steering job applicants to its online system for future consideration. But the process of getting hired at Boeing can be long.

Larson is in the background check phase. The Marysville resident lost his job in packaging in January as Kimberly-Clark closed its paper and pulp mill in Everett. If Larson hasn’t found a job in a few months, he should be able to go through training at the aerospace center when federal aid, set aside for former Kimberly-Clark workers, comes through.

At the AvtechTyee table, qualified job candidates were hard to find. Stan Hiraoka, who works in human resources for the manufacturer of metal assemblies and electronics, was seeking a lathe operator with five years of experience. Many of the people who talked with Hiraoka were fresh out of the aerospace training program.

At the Adecco table, Andrea Sanders said the staffing company has been successful in placing people in mechanical assembly positions at local aerospace companies. Sanders was explaining to job seekers on Wednesday that Adecco isn’t just a temporary employment agency.

“We can help people find long-term employment,” she said.

Andrea Kenny of Everett came to the job fair because she’s about to be laid off. She has been doing clerical work for more than a decade and was checking for similar job openings at aerospace companies. At least one company could have a need in a few months as it added other positions.

But “I’m willing to branch out,” Kenny said.

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