Doug Burrus of Waffle House interviews Markeith Campbell at a Job Fair at Pursuit of God church in Frayser on Tuesday morning. The Job Fair was cosponsored by Agape Family and Child Services. (Photo: Lee Eric Smith)

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When you’ve been out of work for a while, or even working a job that just doesn’t fit anymore, there’s nothing quite like hearing “You’re hired!” to put a smile on your face.

That’s why Jeremy Chambers and Courtney Hibler were grinning from ear to ear. Both men had come to a job fair in Frayser looking for work on Tuesday morning. And both men said that FedEx hired them on the spot — they have a date to show up at the Hub for their first day of work in a few weeks.

“Wonderful news,” Chambers said. “There were some great opportunities with FedEx. Talking about $13 and hour. Full time or part-time job; it’s left up to us to choose. Benefits. Healthcare. Daycare. All that!

“It’s a one-time thing man,” Chambers added as he offered advice to other job hopefuls. “Better come get it!”

About 15 exhibitors participated in the event, which was a joint effort between Pursuit of God Church on Dellwood and Agape Family & Child Services. Pastor Ricky Floyd said that the church had a goal of 10 hires before the fair ended at 3 p.m.

By noon, Floyd said there had already been 50 attendees — of which, eight were hired on the spot. That includes some people who might have to check the “felon” box on a job application. As you might expect a preacher to do, Floyd went biblical.

 

“One of the first things God gave man was a job,” Floyd said, referring to the Genesis story in the Bible. “When a man does not have a job, he does not feel like a man. He feels like he’s supposed to be a provider and if he can’t provide legally, then he may find an illegal way to provide. Or the frustration and anger will impact his family, his city and himself.”

But you don’t have to be a man to want to provide for your kid. Ashley Monroe is currently unemployed, but brought plenty of motivation with her — she had her four-month-old daughter Sariah in her arms as she sat down to fill out applications.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of job,” she said. “It could be warehouse, any type of job. I brought her to show that I really need work. I can put her in daycare if I have a job.”

Agape President and CEO David Jordan underscored the importance of having trusted partners in communities — churches like Pursuit of God. Having media report and spread the news matters too. And, of course, corporate and business partners who really want to make a difference.

“We believe that there are beautiful families and just really good people in these communities,” Jordan said. “But without access and opportunity to participate, there are just barriers that are in the way. So part of our role is how do we knock down those barriers and give you access to education or employment. But not just a job, but a career — something gives you value and worth and helps you in terms of your family.”

Look for more photos and coverage of the job fair in the August 30, issue of The New Tri-State Defender.