Terence Wright had just been laid off from his job as a "swing" worker at C and B Custom Modular in Bristol, but you wouldn't have guessed it from his attitude.
Wright, 29, of Goshen, showed up at a hiring event Wednesday, March 19, organized by Work One and MBC Staffing, with his leather work belt and hammer hanging from his shoulder.
"I want them to see I'm ready to work," said Wright, the father of two young children. "I got to stay busy. I can't miss a beat. I can't sit around and collect unemployment. I'm not the lazy type."
Wright and others came to the event at Goshen's Old Bag Factory, filled out applications and waited to be called for on-the-spot interviews with MBC and Lippert Components Inc. officials. The companies said they were looking to hire 300 people. Some would be MBC temporary employees working at Lippert, with the chance to become permanent Lippert staff later, while others could be hired directly by Lippert.
Several hundred applicants turned out at the event, which ran from noon to 4 p.m. Organizers had run out of English applications within the first hour but later obtained more.
Carmen Murray, 43, of Elkhart, said she quit her job at another Elkhart factory Monday because she was working 60-hour weeks and not seeing her four children enough. She hoped to stay in quality control and warehouse, and was intrigued by an advertisement she saw for the event.
"I was curious how they would give a mass job interview for everyone," Murray said after being interviewed.
The positions will pay from $9 to $12 an hour. Murray said she earned $14.75 an hour at Monaco RV before it closed, $21.75 an hour at Accuride before it shut its doors and $12 an hour at her most recent job. Although this event's positions paid a little less than what she's made in the past, she wanted to explore opportunities for advancement at Lippert, where several acquaintances say they're happy working.
"Sometimes you compensate with a better working environment even though it's less pay," she said. "It depends on how I work out, so you never know. You've got to be open to change."
Murray said she doesn't mind the temporary-to-permanent route, which she took at Monaco and Accuride. She said she understands that employers must be sure of a worker's punctuality and work ethic before taking them on permanently.