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Denver job fair helps connect hundreds of newly arrived immigrants with employers

Job Fair for Immigrants
Posted at 4:36 PM, Mar 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-06 19:12:19-05

DENVER — Hundreds of immigrants who have obtained work permits attended a job fair in Denver on Wednesday aimed at connecting them with more than a dozen employers who are looking to hire.

The event was a joint effort between Emily Griffith Technical College, the Colorado Office of New Americans and the Spring Institute. Around 600 immigrants attended Wednesday's job fair at Emily Griffith Technical College.

“Specifically those who have recently gotten work authorizations — Venezuelans, Central and South Americans,” said Ryan Yates, who is the dean of English and adult education at Emily Griffith Technical College. “They are unsure of how to navigate our employment systems. They may operate differently in their country. They may not speak English perfectly. So we have interpreters here, we have volunteers helping with the application process.”

Yates said there were folks lined up before the event started.

“I came today at about 8:15. The hiring fair started at 10 a.m. And there was already a line out to the grass around the building this morning. So that demonstrated to me that folks were super motivated and really excited to be here,” he added.

Luis Camacho immigrated to the United States from Venezuela four months ago. He said he obtained his work authorization at the end of January.

“When it comes to Venezuelans, there’s a lot of us who are professionals," he said in Spanish. "In my case, I’m a professional, I’m a lawyer. We’re looking for options to contribute to the nation."

Sixteen companies at the job fair were looking to hire new employees. Among them was Colorado Barricade, a road safety company.

"They do need to follow our hiring process. We are taking information or having applications done on the spot and moving people forward," said Darneal Stephens, who leads the company's recruiting department.

Stephens said the language barrier is not an obstacle for them.

"We have managers in each department that can speak Spanish," he said.

Attendees were required to bring their physical work permits in order to apply for jobs. Those who didn't have the proper documents were turned away.

Organizers said this is the second job fair they've hosted for immigrants and hope to host similar events in the future.

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