Carla Schiebelhut of Fresno is working in the Home Arts building this year, her first with the Big Fresno Fair. "I am very lucky I have this for seven weeks. I mean, I'm very grateful. We need it badly," said Schiebelhut. Schiebelhut applied for the job in July during a job fair that brought out at least 7,000 applicants.
Right now, unemployment stands just over 15 and half percent in Fresno County. Every year, the fair hires more than a thousand workers. In addition, many of the vendors bring or hire their own staff. Emperatriz Barreto started working at the popular Chicken Charlie's booth at the age of 16. She's since found another job but comes back to earn extra money. "Extra money won't hurt. When you have bills and you're grown up, it helps," said Barreto.
As Schiebelhut and Barreto worked at the fair Tuesday afternoon, hundreds showed up at Fresno's River Park shopping center to apply for a job at the Yard House. The restaurant and bar will open later this year… not soon enough for those looking for work. Gram Leonard spent his entire day at the hiring center and walked away optimistic as the sun set. "I'm feeling really good. I got the thumbs up from my interviewer and hopefully next week I'll get a call back because it's been way too long without a job. I really want to get back in the working force," said Leonard.
Management at the Yard House estimates they conducted between 800 and a thousand interviews Tuesday and about 50 people were offered jobs. The interviewing process will continue through Tuesday, November 8.