DENVER -- It’s not even spring yet, but the hiring has already begun for some summer jobs.
Elitch Gardens in Denver held a "new hire job fair" Saturday to fill 1,500 positions.
With the state's unemployment rate getting better--but still at 7.9 percent--the interest was significant.
The lines of people snaked into the parking lot even before the job fair started at 9 a.m.
"I kind of made it a priority to get out here as early as possible. I’ve got a good resume here. I’ve got a lot of experience in a lot of the positions that are open out here,” says Travis McClory, 33, of Denver.
The father of four has been unemployed since January and is now competing for a job in an industry that draws younger employees.
“Regardless of what it is, I’m just trying to get a foot in the door, just trying to get some kind of income in," he says. "With the unemployment rate what it is, people are looking for jobs and that's probably why the adult demographic skews a little higher this year," says Elitch Gardens spokesperson Chris Kearsing.
The amusement park got 9,000 applications last year for 1,500 jobs.
They’re jobs that mostly pay slightly above minimum wage in rides, games and food service.
"I'm actually open. I'm a jack-of-all-trades, master of none," says Maurice McFalls.
This desert storm vet is looking for a job in any department since his wife can't work right now.
"I have to do what I’ve got to do to make ends meet. That's basically to get some part-time employment," he says.
"Elitch's is like a lot of young kids, so I felt awkward," says Niccole Gerber of Denver.
The 34-year-old is a single mom looking to make the life of her 7-year-old son better.
"I have a part-time job. But now if i can get another job we can have fun," she says.
"I’ve applied at McDonald’s, Walgreens, Target, King Soopers, Wal-Mart, most everywhere," says Amber Decker of Littleton.
The 16-year-old—along with her brother and sister—hope the amusement park will hire all of them.
“I’m a really hard worker and to not even get acknowledged, it’s kind of hard but, I’ll just have to keep trying," says Decker.
Elitch Gardens says when the job market was really tight--even just seven years ago--they hired mostly teenagers.
Now they're able to hire older, more experienced people. It's helped them get a better pool of candidates.
For those who don’t get jobs immediately, Kearsing says, they should check back over the summer because the younger people will go back to school.AlertMe