Colorado Mills

Finding a job until Colorado Mills reopens

Businesses, organizations come together to provide opportunity at job fair

Posted 6/13/17

Like many high school students, Lakewood graduate Robert Reese was looking forward to saving some money with a summer job before starting college in the fall.

But his plans changed on May 8, when a hailstorm pummeled the West Jefferson County …

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Colorado Mills

Finding a job until Colorado Mills reopens

Businesses, organizations come together to provide opportunity at job fair

Posted

Like many high school students, Lakewood graduate Robert Reese was looking forward to saving some money with a summer job before starting college in the fall.

But his plans changed on May 8, when a hailstorm pummeled the West Jefferson County area, causing millions of dollars of damage to vehicles, homes and businesses. One of the hardest-hit places was Colorado Mills, the 1.1 million-square-foot shopping mall in Lakewood that sustained so much damage from hail and flooding that it remains closed until about November while repairs are completed.

And since Reese worked at the American Eagle in the mall, that means he is out of a job.

“I have heard from managers at our store, who said they’ll keep us informed on our jobs as November gets closer,” he said. “But especially since I’m going into college, I’d like to make some money and get some work experience.”

To help Reese and the other 3,000 mall employees who are without a job for the foreseeable future, the Jefferson County’s American Job organized a job fair for mall workers on June 7 at the Denver Marriot West.

“Putting together job fairs is something we do on a regular basis, and so in the event of a disaster like the one at the Mills, we use our experience to help those in need find new jobs,” explained Tim Galloway, business service supervisor with the job center. “We had a lot of businesses reach out to us to participate, and worked with several organizations to get this together.”

Visitors to the event, which was co-hosted by the rapid-response team of the state Labor Department, were able to peruse booths run by 24 area employers such as Home Depot, Lyft, Subway, Kohl’s, Natural Grocers and the City of Golden. There were also resources like Jefferson County Human Services and The Action Center if workers needed them.

“Our headquarters are just a little down the road from Colorado Mills, so we know how damaging the storm was,” said Laura Mitchell, technology recruiter with FirstBank. “We shifted some of our employees in branches near the Mills, so if mall workers want to stay in the area, we have openings nearby.”

The Target at the mall reopened just a few days after the storm and was eagerly advertising its available positions, as well as openings at other locations.

“We have a great mixture of full- and part-time positions for those looking for a job,” said Sara Wahlers, human resources business partner with Target. “This event is a great opportunity to grow connections with these job seekers.”

Variety was the key to the fair, and in addition to retail-related jobs, seekers could also meet with administrative, seasonal and service jobs.

“We do dining and quality life services for places like hospitals,” said Mary Ann Mathieu, recruiter with Sodexo Dining Services. “We’re here because we want to help people in the community remain independent and have a high quality of life.”

The City of Lakewood also had a large number of seasonal jobs, ranging from bus driver to camp counselors, for people looking for just a summer job.

One of the fair’s top goals was to be both convenient and useful especially with all the online resources available.

“I’ve been mostly looking online, so I think it’s really good that they’ve got so many businesses here,” said Zach Sammon, who worked at the Vans location in Colorado Mills. “For me, I’d like to stay with a job in this area.”

Mills employees of all ages and work experience turned out for the event. Galloway said the Job Center will continue looking for other ways to help them.

“There are a lot of great connections here,” Reese said. “And I got an interview, too.”

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