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Job fair turns out lots of recruiters, but few seeking employment

Job seeker Staci Weinsheimer of Sound Beach, right,

Job seeker Staci Weinsheimer of Sound Beach, right, speaks with Brian Rosen, director of talent for Sterling National Bank, and talent associate Sadé Ogundare. Credit: Barry Sloan

Long Island employers were well represented at the LGBT Network’s first LGBTQ job fair, though recruiters in attendance said hiring in general remains an uphill battle.

More than 30 area employers gathered in Hauppauge Wednesday morning in the hopes of meeting potential hires with diverse backgrounds. Organizers of the event said more and more businesses nationwide have been focused on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, spurred by ongoing discussions of racial justice since last year.

Those discussions are increasingly including gender identity and sexual orientation.

"Businesses and companies were telling us that they were having a hard time recruiting folks and that they wanted to work on more DEI initiatives," said David Kilmnick, president and chief executive of the LGBT Network. "At the same time, we heard from a lot of LGBT community members that they need jobs, so this is a perfect marriage."

But despite the efforts of local employers, Wednesday’s event provided more evidence for what job recruiters have known for months: finding employees is hard work.

While the halls of the LGBT Network’s headquarters were filled with representatives of 35 businesses eager to hire, including Jake’s 58 Casino Hotel, Blue Point Brewing Co. and the Suffolk County Police Department, job applicants were few and far between.

"It’s been slow here today," said Frank Romano with Alure Home Improvements, which is looking to hire skilled trades workers. Romano said he had seen more members of the media than applicants.

Caleb Nagle, people manager for Blue Point Brewing, said while the company’s name recognition helps with hiring to some degree, challenges persist.

"I think we’re all in that kind of unique situation right now where hiring is going to be a little bit difficult, specifically for hourly roles," Nagle said. "The foot traffic today is kind of telling."

One of the handful of job seekers at the event was Staci Weinsheimer of Lindenhurst, who said she was looking for a "good fit" among the employers.

"I want to become part of an organization that I can grow with, that I could maybe retire from one day," said Weinsheimer, who lost her corporate job before the pandemic. "I put in 20 years and I got laid off, which happens."

She said she’s been to a couple of job fairs this year, and even landed a few interviews. The problem, she said, is that the pay wasn’t where she needed it to be.

"The opportunities that I did get … they weren’t what I really needed financially. I need a certain amount to live," she said.

"I’m still shopping around."

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