The city of Houston is continuing to struggle to build back the jobs that were lost due to rock-bottom oil prices and the pandemic. One employer is making a dent in unemployment numbers by hiring 1,000 employees and offering them a way to get to work.
As early as 7:30 a.m. Saturday, a line of job-seekers began forming on the Houston Community College Spring Branch campus. By 10:00 a.m., that line extended down a building sidewalk and up the street.
Hundreds showed up to the Daikin North America Job Fair looking for a lifeline.
"My dad has a blood clot in his brain and has to get it removed," says Samuel Cantor.
He is hoping to get hired and help pay his father's surgery bill.
The pandemic year has been hard on employment rates, but profitable for the air conditioning manufacturer that provides units for cooling and heating.
"We need to connect people with positions," says Harris County Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey. "This is a specific thing that we can do and will continue to do to get people back to work, and it’ll have a tremendous effect on the economy."
Commissioner Ramsey, PE and HCC Trustee, Dr. Pretta VanDible Stallworth, District IX sponsored the six-hour fair.
Daikin’s factory in Waller makes units for all of North America and has opened more than 1,000 jobs.
"We’ll train you. We’ll teach you. You can start out as a production assembler and you could be an engineer," says Kristi Pittman, VP Human Resources.
But with a 40-mile drive from Houston, positions have gone unfilled.
"You may want the job, but you can’t get to the job," says super neighborhood leader Tomaro Bell.
Bell, Ramsey, and Representative Sheila Jackson Lee are working on a game-changing solution by partnering with METRO to provide rides to and from the factory for the hundreds who showed up to the job fair.
The process could be described as a fast-paced assembly line that could rival Henry Ford’s. Job-seekers would move quickly from filling out applications to on-the-spot interviews that could end in a job offer.
Two hours after arriving to the HCC campus, Cantor is congratulated as a new employee and poses for an employee badge. Pending a background check and drug screening, which were also done on-site, he will start work and start getting benefits Tuesday.
"For the single moms, for the fathers, for the students who graduated last May and still have not been able to find a job- this is your opportunity," says Bell.
Wages start at $12.50 and run higher for advanced positions and could prove to be life-changing for those ready to work.
To apply for open positions, click here.