Jobseekers converge on Philadelphia waterfront

April 21, 2009 3:15:29 PM PDT
The Octo Waterfront Grille opens next month at Penn's Landing.

Mention a job fair anywhere in the Delaware Valley and hundreds of people turn out.

That was the case today at the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn's Landing, where a new nightspot was taking applications and interviewing prospective employees.

One hundred new jobs are up for grabs at the Octo Waterfront Grille. It is located on Columbus Boulevard at the site of the former Rock Lobster, which closed in 2007.

The interview process began at 10:00 this morning, and by noon at least 80 jobseekers had passed through.

"It's a wide variety," said spokeswoman Julia Boccia. "There are some people with no experience, and some well-seasoned. So it's really a mix."

The owners are looking for food servers, runners, security and bartenders. Among today's applicants, many appeared over-qualified.

"You have some people coming out of full management positions where they've had staffs of 12 to 55 people beneath them," said co-owner Clark Maloney. "They are just looking to get behind the bar and get some pocket cash."

George Grivos of Upper Darby is a network engineering major at Delaware County Community College. "Considering the way the economy is right now, I'm really, really looking forward to continuing bartending," he said.

The Octo Waterfront Grille is also looking for hostesses. Even workers with plenty of experience were happy for the chance to apply.

"I was an assistant manager for a newspaper, I was crew manager for McDonald's," said Robin Williams of North Philadelphia.

Brian Keckler is a full-time marine who is looking for supplemental income. "I just bought a house and things are a little tighter now," he said. "I want to put some new flooring down, so an extra job and some extra money would help."

"A lot of people are going down to the shore, which is swamped with jobs," said Tim McShane of Haddonfield, NJ. "Coming into the city is just a little easier for me."

The job fair continues tomorrow from 10:00am to 5:00pm. The Octo Waterfront Grille is set to open Memorial Day Weekend.

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