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By Alan Portner
DC Public Policy Examiner

Stafford County VA (March 9, 2010) As the clock tolled just 10:00 in the morning, a four or five deep line had already formed and circled a huge parking lot outside Building 125 on the University of Mary Washington campus outside Fredericksburg. Job seekers had gathered from around the state to take part in a Federal Jobs Fair organized by Senator Mark Warner (D-VA).

47 Federal agencies represented:

Warner knows (as President Obama pushes Congress to finish its work on Health Care Reform) thousands of unemployed Virginians are even more concerned with finding new employment. Warner’s office decided to coordinate a “Jobs” event and recruited representatives from 47 federal agencies to set up tables in a large room at a prestigious college to try to help constituents in their job searches.

Fears that applicants might not attend:

Senator Warner’s heart is clearly in the right place. By the middle of last week, it seemed that the Senator’s effort might pass almost unnoticed. Only 150 job seekers had signed up for attendance. A decision was made. The Senator’s staff sent out emails and utilized robotic telephone phone calls inviting folks to the event. By the end of day, as the result of a request to RSVP, attendance exploded to thousands of registrants.

7000 applicants appear:

Unintentionally, a stunning visual testament to the depth of the unemployment crisis appeared out of almost nowhere. Over 7000 people showed up, waiting patiently in line for a chance to reach out and touch a hoped for future situation on a glorious spring day in the parking lot of a college campus.

These thousands of job seekers were not folks accustomed to waiting in long lines for a government dole. Instead, they were professional people dressed impeccably with men in suits and ties and women in dresses and high heels. These were obviously educated and obviously eager - a diverse lot representing all races and age groups. All clutched piles of resumes and displayed their best interview demeanors in hopes of snagging employment with Uncle Sam.

Two parking lots filled:

Two college parking lots quickly loaded with cars and the huge lot outside a Super Walmart across the street. Stafford county Sheriff’s deputies directed traffic by hand. The several miles to I-95 were jammed with cars.

The wait line continued to grow until it became obvious around noon to everyone that the response had overwhelmed the ability to service it. Calls went out over media shouting that the event had reached capacity. More people could not be accommodated. Senator Warner’s office promised to schedule another event in the near future.

Inside the "Jobs" event:

Meanwhile, inside the facility, tables were neatly lined up in rows from the 47 agencies ranging from ATF to the Peace Corps to the Secret Service. Each table had a backing display, piles of promotional material, and several agency employees to answer questions about the kinds of openings that might be available.

People manning the tables for their agency tried hard. They were pleasant. They encouraged. They passed out vacancy notices. They accepted resumes. Some took notes. All applicants were advised that formal application needed to be made through the USA.gov website. Most were line workers in their various agencies drafted to man a table for a Senator for the day away from their normal duties. The one thing no one could do was any real hiring.

Final thousand in line turned away:

And so the fair went on… After waiting all day long in line, the final thousand applicants were turned away. Many attendees were saddened and depressed by the experience. They had come with high hopes and dreams of joining the government. They went away frustrated and wondered why they had driven to the Jobs Fair from as far away as Virginia Beach and Connecticut.
7000 overwhelm Job Fair outside DC
 

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I have heard that on the avearge federal jobs now pay more than private sector jobs so I am not surprised so many showed up. Some of those may have private sector jobs and wanted to get a better paying federal job.
How will this work if everybody goes to work for the government and pays income tax to the government which the government then uses to pay their salaries... Oh no, my head just exploded.
 

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What amazes me is that they made everyone line up all day just to tell them to apply on the USA JOBS website for a job. LOL!
A lot of people do not understand the complexity of applying for a federal job. Yes, you have to apply but if someone wants you for the job, the application is all you have to do. So going in person and making a good impression can definitely help, as most gov't jobs do not require an interview (the interview to determine your job duties normally happens AFTER you're hired, at least around here). It gets more complex when you add in the fact that HR does the hiring and is a separate entity from the hiring organization...

I work in engineering and it does seem true nowadays that there is more money working for the public sector. That was not always the case, but job security and other benefits evened out the pros/cons of public vs. private sector. But in our case there are jobs that a contractor cannot do, it must be a government person.
 

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A lot of people do not understand the complexity of applying for a federal job. Yes, you have to apply but if someone wants you for the job, the application is all you have to do. So going in person and making a good impression can definitely help, as most gov't jobs do not require an interview (the interview to determine your job duties normally happens AFTER you're hired, at least around here). It gets more complex when you add in the fact that HR does the hiring and is a separate entity from the hiring organization...

I work in engineering and it does seem true nowadays that there is more money working for the public sector. That was not always the case, but job security and other benefits evened out the pros/cons of public vs. private sector. But in our case there are jobs that a contractor cannot do, it must be a government person.
I agree with you Allie. My wife works for the government too.

The problem I see here is that they sent regular worker bees from the various agencies to man the stations rather than people from human resources.

The good part was they did have 3 sessions telling people how to apply. However, I don't think people needed to drive from miles away to get such information.
 

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What amazes me is that they made everyone line up all day just to tell them to apply on the USA JOBS website for a job. LOL!
That would have burned my butt a bit. When you're out of work, that's a real expense to travel for something like this and then be told you could have checked online.

I'm impressed with how professional everybody in the picture looks. They keep having California state job fairs around here (despite the fact that there's supposed to be a state hiring freeze) and the pictures always look like people finished weeding the yard and then wandered down to the job fair.
 

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my brother and uncle work(ed) for the feds. bro still does; uncle retired a few years ago and went to work in the private sector. yes he does make more there; but doesn't have the benefits to the extreme he did when working for the feds. my brother can retire in 5 years; he'll be 50...and do something he really wants to do. i don't have that benefit.....and it sucks because of my health i NEED to retire!!!
My uncle designed fighter carrier planes for the navy and my brother is in charge of something with (crap brain fart), anyway, whatever that dept. is that does security for planes and trains. Tsomething...LMAO...this is pitiful my memory!
 

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my brother and uncle work(ed) for the feds. bro still does; uncle retired a few years ago and went to work in the private sector. yes he does make more there; but doesn't have the benefits to the extreme he did when working for the feds. my brother can retire in 5 years; he'll be 50...and do something he really wants to do. i don't have that benefit.....and it sucks because of my health i NEED to retire!!!
My uncle designed fighter carrier planes for the navy and my brother is in charge of something with (crap brain fart), anyway, whatever that dept. is that does security for planes and trains. Tsomething...LMAO...this is pitiful my memory!
You got me laughing with this post!! :D

Sounds like they have great jobs.
 
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