Around 2,000 attend Fresno Mayor's Youth Job Fair

FRESNO, California

Hundreds of youth spent a day out of their spring break at the mall -- not to shop for clothes but for a job. "I need to get a job so spring break is just a day, I have the rest of the week," said George Gallegos. Gallegos is a junior at Sunnyside High School and is looking for his first paying job. "Just anything that will help me grow professionally. Just gain experience to put on a resume for future reference," said Gallegos.

More than 50 recruiters participated in the Mayor's Youth Job Fair at the Manchester Center - offering a variety of entry level positions. "Cashiers, customer service, we look for a big smile," said Lorean Haupt of JEM Restaurant Management.

Hundreds of teens waited in line to submit a resume to work at a KFC or Wendy's restaurant - all having to meet one requirement. "It's a little different but we have safety issues at our restaurants so we don't hire anyone with tattoos," said Haupt.

Many of the recruiters say they were impressed with how well-prepared the young adults were, compared to older folks. "I was at a job fair last week and I have to say youth that are at this job fair today are amazing with how they're presenting themselves versus what we saw last week," said Lisa Rinehart, a job recruiter.

Job market experts say youth are having to compete with more experienced applicants who are out of work. "Because of the economy and the way things are going, they're having to also compete with probably other people that normally they wouldn't have for summer jobs," said Steven Gutierrez, a labor market consultant.

The unemployment in Fresno County is at 17.3 percent but April is usually the time when seasonal work picks up -- a positive sign for many of the young hopefuls.

Another job fair is scheduled for later this month and will be open to everyone.

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