Dressed to make an impression in a crisp red business shirt, tie and slacks, Adejuwon Anjooorin stood out among mostly high-school aged applicants at the first of two final Target job sessions held at East Liberty Presbyterian Church May 12.
But that didn’t faze the Nigerian native. He doesn’t care whom he works with, just that he works.
|TRYING TO MAKE THE TEAM—Target team leader Dave Melocchi collects a resume from jobseeker Jemimah Worthy during a May 12 job forum at East Liberty Presbyterian Church. (Photos by J. L. Martello).
“My wife has one year left to get her graduate degree from CMU’s Heinz School for Public Policy. My savings is going and I need a job,” he said. “I was in marketing and brand visibility for one of the largest dairy firms in Africa, so I know a little about sales.”
Though he and some of the other hopefuls at the session had relevant employment experience, Target team leader Dave Melocchi told the 50 or so applicants that experience is not as critical as availability.
“We have people in other stores who’ve never worked in retail, even some who’ve never held a job before,” he said. “Beginning in June, we train you over two weeks at other area stores. The key is availability. All our retail positions are part-time. So, while there is no guarantee of a 40-hour week, the more you can work, the more hours you’ll get.”
Almost all the positions, whether in sales, cashier, food services, or placing merchandise on the sales floor start at $8 per hour. After six months, team members are eligible for benefits, including health, dental, eye and 401k.
Though several of the applicants submitted resumes, they were told that the actual application process is done entirely online. Potential employees would be contacted for interviews afterwards.
“That’s the number one question we get—how do I move the process forward,” said Melocchi. “Everyone is very excited that we are here.”
Target plans to fill about 200 positions for its new East Liberty store and plans to do so mostly from the immediate neighborhoods. Dave said the supervisory positions have already been filled, again with mostly local applicants.
Melocchi would not say what the management positions pay, only that they are “competitive in the industry.” Given the size of the East Liberty store, he said management will consist of a store manager, the executive team leader, nine assistant managers, assistant team leaders, and 14 team leaders responsible for individual departments such as electronics or pharmacy.
Brandy Bell, a student at PA Learners Cyber School, said availability isn’t a problem with her schedule. She has previously held cashier positions and is currently working through Urban Youth Action.
Another East End resident, Jemimah Worthy, an 11th-grade homeschooler, is currently working with Urban Youth Action as an executive assistant to the CEO, and has previous retail experience at the Wilkinsburg CVS.
“Urban Youth Action essentially closes for the summer. So in a few weeks, I’m out of a job,” she said. “That’s why I’m here.”
“The vast majority of our applicants are local,” Melocchi said. “So I’m guessing more than 70 percent of the hiring is from adjacent neighborhoods. Today is probably the least attended of the three information sessions we’ve had. There were about 75 people at both of last week’s sessions. The first day was the biggest, with about 120 at both the morning and evening sessions.”
The 143,000 square-foot, two-level store is scheduled for a July opening, just one year after construction began. In anticipation of the new retail anchor’s opening, the city has completed street renovations and will open Penn Circle to two-way traffic for the first time May 21.
The $47-million Target development was seven years in the making. In addition to the 200 jobs created, the store is expects to bring $1.6 million in sales and real estate taxes to the city annually.
(Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org)