Money Watchers: Why low-paying jobs go unfilled - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Money Watchers: Low-paying jobs go unfilled

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LINCOLN, R.I. -

Even though new federal statistics released Monday show Rhode Island tied with California with a national-worst 9.8 percent unemployment rate in January, turnout was low at a job fair held at Twin River to fill more than 50 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, willing to work hard, have good customer service skills because they're going to be dealing with the public," said John Malatesta who was hiring for positions.

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

"There doesn't seem to be a lot of motivation out there for people to work. It's too easy for them to collect unemployment, just from our experience 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 and it's very disheartening sometimes from the employers side," he said.

Tom Wharton works to get people employed, to help them find new careers 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 said offer more jobs that pay on the lower side.

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

Wharton said some of his clients have had to move out of Rhode Island to find better jobs because, he says, the state isn't doing enough to really 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 collect on unemployment. He said he's been looking for work for two years. He can't move away, and says the search has been hard.

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

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  • Bill Rappleye

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    Bill gladly returns to Rhode Island airwaves following a 10-year absence. He broke into television news in New Bedford in the early 1980s, working as a photographer/reporter for cable television.
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