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Preakness hiring fair at Pimlico Race Course draws eager crowd of job seekers

The Preakness is right around the corner. Local businesses are seeking those looking to work the annual event as well as obtain positions that are more long term. They kicked off a search in earnest at Pimlico Race Course this week.

On a bright Thursday afternoon a month before Preakness, new opportunity was in the air. The third floor expansive Sports Palace room in the Pimlico Racetrack building was occupied with tables, eager hiring managers and Baltimoreans actively expressing their hopes to garner employment. Tiara Workman is a local job seeker excited about her already fruitful experience. “The first one at the end, she asked me if I wanted to be a manager already,” she proclaimed in delight. “Before I even got to all of the tables, the first table already offered me a job, multiple jobs.”

This result was the hope of the Maryland Jockey Club when they launched their Baltimore 1/ST campaign championing the Preakness Stakes hometown connections and commitment to the Baltimore community. This premier hiring fair was an extension of that idea. For many people, local and nationwide, the pandemic normalized the virtual hiring process which made it harder for employers to get a real sense of connection with potential workers. Those seeking jobs have also become frustrated with throwing their pdf resume into the virtual ether. Maryland Jockey Club Director of Marketing Audra Madison hopes this event counteracted those hurdles.

“The excitement for our vendors and those employers who are on site is that they get to see candidates right there on the spot,” she explains. “The benefit for the job seeker (is that) in person face to face conversation. It’s so paramount, when you are going to a fair and to have the opportunity to meet with someone, an HR personnel recruiter, just to even get a conversation that adds a different element and brings back that personal connection, versus I'm just throwing my resume into (the) internet.”

William Beadle of The Beadle Group was also at the fair hiring for Preakness, mainly, but also for more long term food and drink service positions. He jumped at the chance for this kind of event as face to face interaction skills are essential for the workers he’s looking to hire. “In the industry that we're in, you have to be personable, you have to be able to talk, you have to be able to speak to people.” he reasons. “The pandemic definitely shifted our industry and shut it down for all intents and purposes. But I think that having hiring fairs and things like this gives people the opportunity to get back out, speak face to face and really tell you more than what their resume simply states.”

The fair also offered opportunities for organizations separate from Preakness itself to seek employees who may have never considered they could be a good fit. Connie Uroda, a hiring specialist for Express Care Urgent Care, hoped to talk to folks who have service industry skills who may be open to putting them to use in a different setting. She says, “We were looking for, we call them medical receptionists, front desk people, which we really just need anybody who's had any kind of customer service based experience friendly, willing to follow rules, you know, those types of people.

The resounding energy in the room was filled with chances for a fresh start. Preakness, as one of Baltimore’s premiere events, seems like the ideal platform to use to bring businesses and locals together who may not have thought they’d be a good match. For local jobseeker Darren Yancey, Thursday there was only one goal.

“Walking outta here with a job.”

Other businesses still looking for workers include Select Event Group, SAFE Management, Battle Tested Security, Ridgewells Catering, Atlas Restaurant Group and the Maryland Jockey Club itself. If you missed the fair but are looking for employment contact [email protected].

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