Money Watchers: Low-paying jobs go unfilled

Even though new federal statistics released Monday show RhodeIsland tied with California with a national-worst 9.8 percent unemployment ratein January, turnout was low at a job fair held at Twin River to fill more than50 positions available across more than a dozen Dunkin' Donuts locations.

Within the first few hours, only 25 applicants came through.

"We're looking for folks that have a great attitude, willingto work hard, have good customer service skills because they're going to bedealing with the public," said John Malatesta who was hiring forpositions.

But Malatesta said it's not always easy to fill jobs, despite thembeing out there.

"There doesn't seem to be a lot of motivation out there forpeople to work. It's too easy for them to collect unemployment, just from ourexperience as an employer in the state. It's very difficult from the employers'side to win on unemployment. It seems almost like it's a rite of passage andit's very disheartening sometimes from the employers side," he said.

Tom Wharton works to get people employed, to help them find newcareers and to improve how employees and organizations perform.

"I think it's warming up old coffee," he said.

Wharton's not a big fan of job fairs, which he saidoffer more jobs thatpay on the lower side.

"If we had job fairs that consisted of qualitymanagement-level jobs that were paying decent wages, $40-, $50-, $60,000, thatwould be thing. But $8 or $10? Save your time," he said.

Wharton said some of his clients have had to move out of RhodeIsland to find better jobs because, he says, the state isn't doing enough toreally fight unemployment.

"One of my clients moved to Dallas. His wife got a job there.He got a job there, couldn't wait to get out of Rhode Island," he said.

Gary Berdugo, who attended the job fair, wasn't looking to collecton unemployment. He said he's been looking for work for two years. He can'tmove away, and says the search has been hard.

When asked how important it is for him to find a job, Berdugosaid, "It will help me become independent and also to provide for myfamily."