The line outside the California Veterans Home in Fresno began around 5 a.m. Wednesday, as hundreds showed up for their shot at landing a job.
The crowd didn't know how the long the wait would be to go inside the new building, on California Avenue west of Fresno.
But, jobseeker Dean Lewis says, the wait time was the last thing on his mind.
"I'm here to hopefully find a job," he said, gripping a red folder with his resume inside. "I'm blessed to show up."
One by one, jobseekers filed into the 300-bedroom facility, to get information on the first 70 jobs that will be filled.
These are classified as civil service positions with the state.
The job fair was promoted across the state.
"We are looking for passionate folks who want to be part of a top-notch team and who believe our noble mission, which is caring for California Veterans," said Robin Umberg, Undersecretary of the California Department of Veteran Affairs. "It's a long time coming."
The building has been complete for over a year but, it has been empty.
You can blame California's budget crisis.
The federal government met its share of the $159 million dollars needed to build the facility, but the state could not afford to hire workers to staff the place.
The most recent budget presented by Governor Jerry Brown includes $27 million to staff the Fresno home, and one in Redding.
If lawmakers approve the budget plan, the first veterans could move in by the fall.
Lewis says he's applying for a sanitation or janitorial job.
He's been unemployed for three months.
At this point, anything helps—and optimism never hurts.
"Hopefully I can leave with a job," he says.
If you would like to apply, but could not attend the job fair, you can click here for more information about applying online.
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