Hundreds of potential employees attend job fair in Bridgewater

A job fair in Bridgewater brought out a large group who were seeking to get a new job.
Around 500 people attended the event, known as the Greater Raritan Job Fair, meeting with 93 companies. Face-to-face meetings were not something one would have seen a year ago because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the employers looking for staffing was New Jersey Eastern Star Home – a long-term care facility.
“We are looking for nursing staff, so RN, LPN, CNA, housekeeping staff and receptionists,” says Lori Patullo.
She says that hiring has not been easy over the last year. She says the pandemic changed things.
“It’s been difficult. We’ve had a lot of people apply and not show up. Set up an interview and not show up,” Patullo says.
Many of the other employers at the job fair expressed similar sentiments.
“I think a lot of it had to do with COVID. A lot of it had to do with people who were getting paid to stay home and making more money,” Patullo says.
The job fair was mainly offering entry-level jobs. Montauk Transit was looking for 50 drivers, with starting salaries of $24 an hour.
Many of the candidates say that they were looking for decent-paying jobs with flexible hours. Some were hoping they could work from home.
“If you have a certain experience you’ll look for a job that fits your skills. You don’t want to just have any job where they pay very low,” says Ana Fonseca, of Rahway.
Experts say that the pandemic created a new workforce - one that likes to work remotely and demands a livable wage. But can employers adapt to meet the needs of the New Jersey worker? That remains to be seen.
The free event was organized by the Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board and the New Jersey Department of Labor and was co-sponsored by the Bridgewater-based Hindu Temple and Cultural Society.
For more information about jobs programs for employers and job seekers in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, visit www.thegrwdb.org.