Smart & Final job fair in Fresno draws more than 1,000 people

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A job fair for a new grocery store opening in Fresno turned into a massive event, with more than 1,000 people competing for just dozens of positions.

The job-seekers stood in line for hours hoping to be considered for one of the openings. Smart & Final is hiring part-time cashiers, a variety of food service clerks and night loading clerks for it's brand new store called "Smart & Final -- Extra!" which is currently under construction at Blackstone and Clinton. Many were not deterred from the long lines, telling Action News they badly need a job.

Tasha Lewis said, "It's really worth it because I really need a job to support my family and help support them financially."

Jacques McGee, a student, said, "I have been waiting too long actually. Almost five hours."

Smart & Final officials performed interviews with every person on-site. They're hiring not just for their new Fresno location but for any openings at all of their other Central Valley stores. Still, many were shocked at just how many people came out - even for a chance to get some part-time work.

Job applicant Mikala McClain said, "A lot of people have been here since 5am and then there's people waiting outside right now. So, I'm lucky to at least be in line right here."

According to California's Employment Development Department, Fresno's unemployment rate stands at 9.5%. That number is down from the beginning of the year when the state reported 12% of people in Fresno County were unemployed.

Lisa Brown is hopeful she'll get hired. Brown said, "I just got done applying and they said they would call me in two weeks."

People who came out to Smart and Final's job fair say they're keeping their fingers crossed that they stand out in this very large crowd.

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