NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Economic developers just wrapped up a job fair in Nacogdoches.
Wednesday's event was planned to help laid off Hotel Fredonia employees, but anyone hunting a job was invited. Hotel workers are entering a very competitive job hunting environment.
In the first hour and a half, over 200 job applicants made it to the Nacogdoches job fair.
Economic developers hastily organized the job fair. They began just hours after hearing the Hotel Fredonia had closed.
"It's 90 jobs, not full time equivalence, but it still doesn't matter," said Judy McDonald, the interim director of NEDCO. "Those are people who depend on that paycheck."
Chad Martin is one of those people. He was a full-time restaurant server for three years. He searched the room for the familiar faces of former co workers.
"I haven't seen any other people here looking for jobs," Martin said. "Of course, granted, many of them are college students."
Some of those same workers initially expressed bitterness toward economic developers' attempts to help. Some questioned the sincerity of their efforts.
"I don't see it that way at all," said Amy Ashley, an Aramark human resources representative.
Aramark, catering business, is one of 36 employers who accepted resumes and applications.
"With the closure of the hotel our business needs have kinda picked up, so we're needing some additional help," Ashley said.
Wednesday, employers mostly faced laid-off workers not from the Hotel Fredonia, but from a downsized manufacturing plant and a soon to close retailer.
It's competition Martin faces as he looks for work. He's grateful to job fair organizers.
"I am very thankful for them, and I really appreciate their service and what they're doing for us, for the hotel and Nacogdoches," Martin said.
Laid-off Hotel Fredonia employees are eligible to receive unemployment compensation. Some are using it. Others have found work.