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Center City Job Fair For Ex-Offenders Is Canceled After 3,000 Show Up

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Gregg_Cherrie--NEW Cherri Gregg
Cherri Gregg is the community affairs reporter for KYW Newsr...
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By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The City of Philadelphia shut down a career fair for ex-offenders today after an unexpected crowd of thousands showed up, résumés in hand.

There were lots of disppointed job seekers and potential employers this morning.

The city was expecting about 1,000 people to show up, but about three times that number were standing in a line that wrapped around the Municipal Services Building, across from City Hall.

And when someone jumped the line, order collapsed.

There was no yelling, no shoving — just 3,000 people all trying to get into the job fair at once.

Everett Gillison, the deputy mayor for public safety, says the space designated for the event could not handle the crowd, so they closed it down shortly after it began.

“We took as many résumés as we could,” he told KYW Newsradio afterward, “but those that did not have résumés, we told them we were going to reschedule.  And we are going to reschedule it for the Convention Center.”

Of course there was frustration.

“People want jobs,” said one man.  “In the city right now, with jobs it’s just ridiculous trying to find one.  It’s almost impossible.”

“It’s really hard out here,” another man said.  How long had he been trying to get work?

“At least two years now.”

Gillison says 25 employers were on hand for today’s event.  Last year, he said, 1,000 people showed up and 435 people got jobs, so this year they advertised through “partners.”

Then, Gillison says, it got on social media and snowballed.

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