1000s attend Target job fair

Patty Perez, 28 and Jenice Pagan, 23, both of Fordham, attended Target’s mass hiring event. Perez and Pagan have struggled to find work. According to Pagan, the ongoing economic crisis is to blame. Photo by Daniel Beekman

Eugene Aldridge, 45, is unemployed, one of 56,000 Bronxites out of work. Aldridge worked as a loader for Greyhound; the bus business let him go in 2008.

“I have three kids,” Aldridge, of Gun Hill Road, said. “I need a job to support them.”

So Aldridge spent Thursday, May 21 in line, job application in hand. Target, set to open at the new Bronx Terminal Market Gateway Center on July 26, held a mass-hiring event at the Bronx County Courthouse on Thursday and Friday, May 22. Close to 3,000 people attended.

“I knew there would be a lot of people here,” said Jermaine Edwards, 27, of E. 174th Street. “A lot of people are out of work.”

Edwards is employed; he attended the event because he wants to become a supervisor. Target will hire 700 people to operate the Gateway Center store – supervisors and entry-level team members. According to store team leader Bill Florin, the Minneapolis-based outlet will sift through 10,000 applications.

Jenice Pagan, 23, lost her job a year ago. She and friend Patty Perez, 28, have done seasonal work for a handful of firms, including Jackson Hewitt. Pagan and Perez, of Fordham, are on the hunt again. Pagan is a cashier.

“I think I have a good chance today,” she said. “I have experience and a high school education.”

Pagan found the Gateway Center employment calendar online. The two-day Bronx County Courthouse event was meant to engage Bronx residents, Florin said. Most of the people who showed up on May 21 were Bronxites.

Target is subject to a community benefits agreement that Gateway Center developer Related Companies negotiated in 2006. The benefits agreement requires Gateway Center tenants to shoot for Bronx hires – 25 percent from Community District 4, 50 percent from the borough. Target won’t preference Bronxite applicants, according to Florin.

Instead, Target will encourage Bronxites to apply. Florin expects the store to satisfy the benefits agreement.

Pertrina Delmonte, 23, of Gerard Avenue, left the event frustrated after a rapid-fire interview.

“I don’t think they’ll remember me,” Delmonte said. “I don’t think they’ll call.”

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