Event For Ex-Offenders Is Canceled After 3,000 Show Up
Dispelling the common notion that ex-felons don’t want to work, thousands turned out for a Philadelphia “job fair”. The unexpected crowd resulted in the City of Philadelphia organizers shutting down the career fair with thousands not even making it inside the planned venue. One disappointed job-seeker remarked “what is this, a publicity stunt?”
Allegedly the city was expecting about 1,000 people to show up, but demand exceeded supply as a line of easily three times that number wrapped around the Municipal Services Building, across from City Hall.Imagine planning a business grand opening and then having to shut it down because too many customers showed up. The business owner would be accused of poor planning, not doing adequate research, and maybe not understanding the power of social media and the viral nature in which messages can spread.
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 reporters 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.”
In the September issue of Fortune magazine, the City ran a glowing 8-page “Special Advertising Section” entitled “Smart City“. According to the piece “economic activity is abuzz in historic Philadelphia, home to a fast growing, highly-skilled labor pool“.
Yes, said Mayor Michael Nutter. “We offer an ideal environment for CEO’s and entrepreneurs”. He may have been referring to the ones he met on his trip to China.
There was no mention of the fact that poverty rose significantly in Philadelphia and its surrounding counties over the last two years. Nor that the city’s median household income in 2011 ranked second-worst among the nation’s 25 largest cities. “These are very bleak and disconcerting statistics,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody’s Analytics, the economic-consulting firm in West Chester.
Philadelphia closed out 2011 with the highest per-capita murder rate of United States cities.
With these types of jarring realities, you would think City organizers would do a better job when planning a career fair ex-felons.
What say you?