Fresno water park job fair attracts large crowd

FRESNO, Calif.

People began showing up to the front gates of the Island Water Park at 8 Monday morning hoping to be the first in line. "We got here early expecting a line. Didn't want to be waiting out here for more hours than we needed to," said Joshua Lerma of Fresno.

Job seekers came prepared with more than just an application. Some brought snacks to get them through the long wait. "This job fair is known for drawing pretty big crowds because we're offering 300 positions in one day in a matter of 2 hours," said Kristi Beck, sales manager for the park.

Managers at Island Water Park in Northwest Fresno are looking to hire lifeguards, food and beverage servers and other seasonal entry-level positions. "It's not just a teenagers' job anymore. We definitely have adults, the full spectrum of age range," said Beck.

Most job seekers in the crowd were in their teens but there were also more experienced applicants who've been out of a job. "It's hard trying to find a job nowadays with the way things are. Then you're always competing with other people looking for the same position you are, so you have to make that first impression really count," said Miguel Lazaro, who's been unemployed for a month.

The unemployment rate in Fresno County for the month of February was at 17.3 percent - that's up slightly from the previous month. But the jobless rate fell compared to this time last year. "The good news I think we're starting to see some job growth in some of your big industries. In combination with that, we're getting into the timeframe where we start to see seasonal jobs come into play here in Fresno County," said Steve Gutierrez, a labor market consultant with the Employment Development Department.

Job market experts say that's a positive sign as local businesses offer more seasonal employment opportunities. "I'm hoping, I'm keeping my fingers crossed every single one of them," said Lazaro.

The 300 positions were expected to be filled by the end of the job fair.

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