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Job fair in Boyle Heights - 600 jobs, with focus on vets

Boyle Heights Job Fair

Grant Slater/KPCC

Loretta Garcia, a human resources specialist with UPS, shakes hands with a job seeker. UPS was hiring for positions in warehouse logistics. There's a seven- to eight-year wait to become a driver who is paid approximately $17 an hour, she said.

Veterans, young professionals and seniors all descended on a Boyle Heights job fair Tuesday when word got out it was sponsored by Chase Bank.

Chase says it’s looking to hire 200 workers in Boyle Heights and other areas throughout Los Angeles where unemployment is high.

The lender has taken flack from critics who say Chase unfairly kicks low-income people out of their homes when they have trouble paying their mortgages.

“We will commit $7 million over the next three years to nonprofit work here in Boyle Heights," said Chase spokesman Gary Kishner, emphasizing the bank's more positive efforts.

“Last year, we gave about $66 million to nonprofits," he continued. "That includes homes so that they could create affordable housing, that includes grants to nonprofits so that they could provide education within the schools. We are committed to the communities.”

Travis Burnham of Venice has been looking for work ever since he returned from Iraq, and the vet shook plenty of hands with Chase people and other prospective employers at the job fair.

It’s been difficult, especially considering Burnham has had some problems with the law.

“Never had a criminal history before that," he said. "When I came back, I got into some trouble and I’m clearing that up now."

Professional counseling has, according to Burnham, helped prepare him to reenter the job market.

Companies like UPS, Staples Center, Vons, Starbucks and Target are reviewing Burnham’s resume — and hundreds of others.

But, according to the fair's organizers, there are hundreds of jobs to go around.

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