CREATED Oct. 6, 2012
FORT MYERS, Fla. - They lined up and packed the parking lot, even before the Edison Mall Job Fair began.
Shelby Kruse arrived early. "I've been judged and misjudged so many times because i have a child, said Kruse, 18, of Fort Myers.
She's a single mom raising 8-month-old jack. Kruse is looking for any part-time work.
"Trying to take care of him and my needs and everything, it's been rough," said Kruse.
Many at the event agree. They're feeling the effects of a down economy. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show more people out-of-work in southwest Florida compared to the rest of the state. While 8.8 percent are jobless in Florida, 9.5 percent are unemployed in Lee County.
"I hope we're able to decrease the unemployment that there is in southwest Florida," said Sarah Berthold, the marketing director of the Edison Mall.
That's why for the first time, 11 stores are getting the word out all at once about 150 open positions.
"It gives them that opportunity to talk to the hiring managers and the managers, they're on site," said Berthold.
To get face time is why Denise Griffen waited in line.
"It's hard to find employers that will follow through and give you the initial interview," said Griffen, of Cape Coral, who has both her realtor's license and a paralegal degree.
Three months after moving here from Ohio, Griffen, 54, says it's harder to find work at her age.
"I've been looking about 10 times a day," Griffen added.
Kruse isn't giving up either. She's giving today all she's got.
"I just want the opportunity today to meet them and show them i can be a valuable employee, even though i do have a child," said Kruse.
If you missed the Edison Mall Job Fair today, go to www.shopedisonmall.com and click on the Jobs tab.