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image Right, David Robinson, a recruiting supervisor with Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance, and Dee Fridella, a social service manager at Ruskin’s South Shore Community Resource Center. Photo Penny Fletcher

Partnership between agencies results in help for employers, job-seekers


A partnership between Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance and the South Shore Community Resource Center in Ruskin is proving helpful to people looking for work.

Recently it has also offered help to employers looking for people to fill open jobs.

About a year ago the Workforce opened an office in the resource center and began keeping an online list of jobs in the area for use by the public.

In the last 30 days, the partnership has found a new way to help people find work.

They are now encouraging employers to use the facility to not only post job openings, but use it for other purposes as well.

“This is a wonderful resource for employers,” said Dee Fridella, a social service manager at the center. “We have the space to encourage employers to do hiring, training and even orientations.”

David Robinson, a lead recruiter with Tampa Bay Workforce who is based in the Brandon office, said two South County employers have reached out to them in the last 30 days.

While people have been coming in to fill out online applications and seek work, now employers are holding mass hirings there as well.

“This is only one of several new programs we’re hosting,” said Fridella, who until recently had to split her time between South County and Plant City. “I feel like a kid in a candy store. They’ve hired someone for Plant City and I get to stay here full time and develop programs.”

Already, Fridella and her small staff have contacted the South County Career Center about the possibility of placing students with certificates for specialty skills with their first employers. They are also working with Hillsborough Community College.

“This is such an exciting time,” Fridella said. Working with Tampa Bay Work Force keeps her abreast of what – as well as who – is available to fill the job openings that come up.

Family empowerment programs showing how to budget and manage money are also in the works. But unlike many “programs” the partnership between these two agencies is giving concrete aid to job seekers.

“We’d like to see more employers reach out to us,” Fridella said. “We’re actually seeing unemployed people find jobs.”

In the last 30 days, Little Caesars opened a Ruskin location at 3848 State Road 674.

“We had 80 people apply for 40 jobs,” she said. “The turn-out was great.”

Then, April 9 and 10, Marshalls department store held a mass interviewing and hiring both at the center and at the site of the new store, 13120 U.S. 301 in Summerfield Plaza (next to Beall’s).

Both the manager and assistant manager live in South County and had been working in the Pinellas County Marshalls.

“This is wonderful,” said store manager Jennifer Aykroyd, while interviewing at the resource center. “I have been with Marshalls since 1998 and now I’m going to be right near my home.”

Assistant Manager John Whiting also lives within minutes of the new store. He was interviewing at a table outside the site.

The store will be 19,300 square feet, which is little larger than the store in Brandon’s Regency Plaza.

Starting pay is $8.25 an hour for janitorial, back room, sales, cashiers and other positions.

“These jobs may not be glamorous,” said Aykroyd. “But this is a good company and if you work hard, you can work yourself into a full time job or higher position.”

Initially Marshall’s is hiring 100 temporary positions. About half of these people will be retained after things get going, and some could work into full time, she said.

The resource center staff took flyers made by Marshalls to local high schools, HCC and libraries. “We wanted to be sure many people were aware of the openings,” Fridella said.

Employers and job seekers who want to find out more about how to seek work through these programs may log onto www.employflorida.com which is the Tampa Bay Work Force site, Robinson said.

People who want to check out the list of posted jobs may visit the resource center at 201 14th Ave. S.E., Ruskin between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, Marshalls will continue to take applications online at www.marshalls.com after the mass hiring is over.

“We will see some turn-over so it doesn’t hurt to have your application in,” said Aykroyd.

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