MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The down economy has forced many people to take drastic measures to save money and apply for jobs they've never considered before.
On Wednesday, August 15, nearly 2,000 people waited in line for a shot at 1 of 30 housekeeping jobs at The Peabody Hotel. Hundreds are applying to become corrections officers while others slept in their cars to make sure they got $20 worth of free gas.
There are a few reasons why doors are beginning to open for the unemployed: people are retiring and the hospitality business is booming. Employers say there's a huge demand for workers. Thousands of people stood in line for hours, all hoping to get a job at the historic Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis.
"I've been on the job search for a while. I have my resumes ready," said Sharnal Barton, who had been waiting in line at the job fair for more than 3 hours.
"You can't say that you can't make it. You just gotta hope you make it out of the 300 people,” said another person at the Peabody job fair, Darrius Hollaway.
Many have been looking for work for months, even years.
"I’ve been looking for a job for about 10 months or more so it's worth the wait,” said Dorthy Harper, who stood behind hundreds of people that filed along Second Street.
The Peabody Hotel was hiring "on the spot" for its housekeeping department.
"Business is picking back up,” said Peabody Hotel Human Resources Director Lisa McNutt. “We're expecting a very busy September and we're able to supply full time positions and keep people employed."
The Shelby County Sheriff's Office is hiring 80 correctional officers. The starting annual salary is about $32,000. Hundreds also lined up not for a job fair, but for free gas. Local banks gave away a total of $4,000 worth of gas to the first 200 people on Wednesday. The hope: steal customers away from big banks.
"I got up about 4 this morning,” said Renae Carens, who was waiting to get free gas. “It's a good deal that they're giving me free gas."
These long lines show people are not giving up, waiting for their break. Whether it's for $20 of free gas or a full time job they're doing whatever it takes and not they are quitting.
“It's been a very hot wait but it's worth it looking for a job,” said Barton.
If you weren't hired at The Peabody job fair or you couldn't make it there is another opportunity to apply. The hotel still plans to hire 30 people to fill other positions. There is also time to apply for the Shelby County Sheriff's Office. All that information on how to apply can be found in the FIND IT section at www.abc24.com