Huge response shuts down City's ex-offender job fair

May 17, 2013 2:40:52 PM PDT
More than 3,700 job seekers overwhelmed the Municipal Services Building in Center City for a job fair Friday morning intended for ex-offenders.

The 3rd Annual Ex-Offenders Job Fair, sponsored by the City of Philadelphia, was set for today between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on the 16th floor of the Municipal Services Building, located across from City Hall.

The first fair drew 1,000 applicants, and last year only 100 people showed up.

Word of today's job fair, however, spread through social media, drawing more than 3,700 job hopefuls to the Municipal Services Building.

The City anticipated a big crowd and therefore doubled the staff to handle the response, but the crowd was still too big to handle - forcing the event to be cancelled and leaving hundreds on the plaza outside.

Staffers asked people to leave their resumes, promising that each person will be contacted about a rescheduled date for the fair at the Convention Center, which can handle a bigger turnout.

This program was started by Mayor Michael Nutter and the District Attorney's Office to help integrate ex-offenders back into society and the workplace, with the goal of cutting recidivism - ex-cons going back to a life of crime, and thus back into the court and prison system. Employers get a tax credit for each ex-offender they hire.

Organizers said on Friday afternoon that they are in the process of securing a bigger facility and will hold the job fair again.