By Natasha Brown

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office was working to connect employers with job-seekers. The pandemic has stretched community resources and eliminated thousands of jobs, but there is a one-stop outlet providing some relief.

“It’s kind of a one-stop-shop where you can get a job but also get other wraparound services that you need,” G. Lamar Stewart, assistant director of community engagement at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, said.

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office started the One Stop Job & Resource Hub last September before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“We would transform rec centers, schools, faith institutions, right in the heart of neighborhoods, into job and resource sites. Essentially, we would bring around 50 to 60 employers and other social service providers into these spaces,” Stewart said.

COVID-19 restrictions forced the hub to go all virtual for job fairs and critical social service resources, like addressing the rising gun violence in the city.

“One Stop is really a prevention model, it’s a gun violence prevention model, it’s a crime prevention model, it’s a victim support model that really brings resources,” Stewart said.

Louis Monroe, of West Philadelphia, lost his job during the coronavirus crisis and found a new opportunity through the one-stop job site.

“I felt like I got an opportunity to talk to the person directly and they sent me right over,” Monroe said. “I felt like a little bit more of a struggle in this kind of economy as it is now. I’ve been applying on Indeed, but it’s hard to get back. But to be able to email somebody right then that’s looking for people made it a lot easier for me to get a job.”

Employers like Hessert Chevrolet and SEPTA are among the dozens who work with the site every month to find valuable employees, even in the midst of a pandemic.

“At this time we were looking to hire some people and the opportunities brought to us to get involved in this virtual job fair and it ended up being a great avenue for us,” Tom Hessert said.

“We continue to attend, even through these virtual job fairs, because we are continuing to hire,” SEPTA recruiting manager Greg Branch said.

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