Job-seekers are getting their first look at hundreds of positions coming to the new PPL Center arena in Allentown, but there's a catch: the job fair is open only to city residents. Arena leaders said it's part of their commitment to get the struggling city back to work.
One of the hopefuls is Carlos Cintron, who has been looking for work for six months.
"Looking mostly at customer service, hotel jobs," he said. "Something that will allow me to get involved with people."
All day Thursday, job hunters got a sneak preview of the jobs coming to the new hockey and concert arena, set to open this fall.
"We're hiring everything from guest services, which will be ticket takers, ushers, event staff, premium services -- helping out in the suites, club level with all of our clients," said Jacquelyn Holowaty with Global Spectrum, the company managing arena operations. "And for the Phantoms [hockey team], they'll be hiring merchandise, game day crew to help manage all their game day operations, audio visual, helping with all the game presentation."
Holowaty expects the arena to hire more than 300 part-time employees and at least 75 full-time positions. Part-time salaries start at $8 to $10 an hour, she said, but full-time positions can pay much more.
"There are a lot of different jobs, whether it's in marketing, whether it's in purchasing, whether they're needing folks -- facility maintenance folks," said Esther Wenck with the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board.
In addition to jobs with the arena and its associated restaurants, like Chickie's and Pete's, even more jobs will be coming later at a planned Renaissance Hotel and at Lehigh Valley Health Network's new sports medicine complex at the PPL Center.
When the project was first proposed, some community groups worried that Allentown residents would be passed over for jobs at the site. That's one reason Thursday's preview, and the upcoming job fair on July 17, are open only to those who can show proof of residency.
In advance of the job fair, job seekers like Cintron are getting one-on-one help touching up their resumes.
"This is the kind of thing you have to sell yourself," a career counselor told him Thursday. "This isn't just about what you did; it's about what makes you special."
Cintron is confident he'll snag a great job.
"When you meet people on the street, at first they ask you, 'What are you doing? Are you working?'" he said. "And when you tell them, 'Yes, I'm working,' it's like a pride."
The upcoming job fair is July 17 from 1 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at the Lehigh County Government Center, one block from the PPL Center. If you don't live in Allentown, you can still apply for arena jobs, too. They will all be posted online.