Hundreds get jobs on the spot at Seattle youth job fair

May 5, 2016, 10:15 PM | Updated: May 6, 2016, 6:20 am

Howard Schultz job fair...

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz sits down with young people at a massive job fair on Thursday in Seattle. (Sara Lerner, KIRO Radio)

(Sara Lerner, KIRO Radio)

About 1,500 teens and young adults who are not working or in school descended on a massive job fair in Seattle Thursday.

Hundreds already had interviews lined up with companies like Macy’s, Chipotle, FedEx, and Starbucks.

Marcina Banda Duena, 18, did not have anything booked ahead of time, but she met someone from Nordstrom and eventually ended up sitting down for an interview.

Afterwards, Marcina was ecstatic.

“I could burst out in excitement right now,” she said.

Marcina lives in South Seattle and is in a class at Seattle Central College that helps kids, as she describes, who need a boost graduating from high school.

Her teachers required attendance at the job fair and she is beyond thrilled about that.

“They’re like, you got to go, you have to go to this. A lot of people get jobs on the spot and I’m like, I wish I could be one of those and I am,” she said, beaming.

Sam Sheeber, 16, was practically jumping up and down after her interview with Taco Bell. She just landed her first job.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “I’m proud that I’m not the best at being a student but I’m excited about this new job. It’s going to be a great new start.”

Sheeber is finishing up high school in Seattle.

The idea behind the job fair is to get 100,000 people jobs, many of them are low-income and many are minorities. Forty companies put the event together. Seattle is one of many cities that hosts it.

John Kelly, vice president of Global Responsibility at Starbucks, says the whole idea is to act as a matchmaker.

“There’s an opportunity gap,” he said. “You literally have 5.5 million Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not at work and not in school. You have millions of jobs that are open and what we’re trying to do is bring these two worlds together.”

Kelly says getting them jobs helps in a million ways, such as easing the government’s burden.

“This population is often, sort of, disregarded, and people are giving up,” he said. “And we’re saying, ‘This is not a solution.’ They’re full of potential. They’re full of value. They’ve been told time and time again that maybe they don’t count, that they’ll never get that job and that they won’t have a future.”

And, Kelly said, it’s been proven that they succeed when they are given the chance.

The fair helps out these teens and young adults who might not have a mentor or parent helping them along.

Two hundred computers and counselors were on-hand to guide them through the process of writing a resume and applying for jobs online.

Marcina could tell that the person who hired her saw something in her, as a person. She says that, in the interview, she tried to simply act normal and talk about herself honestly. It worked. They said she was hired.

“They’re like, yes, and I was like, ‘oh my god,’” she said. “There’s no better words to hear than I want you working for us because of who you are. No better words to hear than, ‘I want you working for us because of who you are.’ That is just incredible to me.”

Standing in her black blazer, her dark pink hair pulled back into a neat ponytail with the giant fair buzzing around her, Marcina described her current state of emotion.

“I’m so excited. I’m so, so excited. All I can say is I’m excited and I’m so excited.”

For those who fit this description of teens or young adults who need jobs but missed the fair, check out Start Somewhere to access many resources on finding jobs.

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Hundreds get jobs on the spot at Seattle youth job fair