HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Emerging from the depths of a bad economy, more than 160 employers -- looking not to trim, but to expand their workforce -- greeted some 7,000 job seekers at the Neal Blaisdell Center Wednesday.
"What we really like to see is that they're dressed a little better. We feel a little more optimism in the air like they're more, can believe that the economy is turning around and that there are jobs to be had here, so we love that," Beth Busch, Success Advertising, said.
Mercy Griggs of Ewa Beach says she was laid off from her position at Hickam Air Force Base two weeks ago. The 45-year-old mother of a second grader is determined to land a new job.
"It's really hard because, you know, it's like I'm not young anymore," she said. "It's just getting older and it's like starting all over again."
Among the companies she looked at was Aulani, the new Disney Resort and Spa in Ko Olina. The hotel is looking to hire 800 people during its first phase.
The positions are in management, guest services, housekeeping, culinary, recreation and other areas. Aulani will also need aestheticians, massage therapists and nail technicians for its 18,000 square foot spa.
"I like to work with people and solving problems," Griggs said. "You know, I do have the skills."
The city of Honolulu set up a booth that highlighted its massive rail transit project. Officials say rail will create about 10,000 jobs per year.
Swinerton Builders was also a featured employer at the event. The company is seeking people to work on the modernization and renovation of the Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Federal Building and Courthouse.
The fair also featured finance, healthcare, retail and transportation companies.
"And then we have a green initiative for the first time, 16 booths that are all eco-friendly jobs," Busch said.
Those looking for work, like Mercy, have one message for the employers.
"Give me a chance out there," Griggs said while smiling.