Former employees of NECCO and other companies had a chance last Wednesday to visit a job fair held at the Rumney Marsh Academy that was organized by Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo.
Businesses like Kettle Cuisine, Kelly’s Roast Beef, TSA and Hood accepted applications from the unemployed workers with most offering jobs paying around $14 an hour, similar to what NECCO paid its employees.
Nora McCarthy, vice president of human resources for Kettle Cuisine, offered openings on all shifts at its Lynn facility. They have over 100 employees, and are stocking up on help for the soup season.
The mayor’s office heard from over 80 employers about the job fair.
“We’re glad to be here and we hope to be able to provide jobs to those from NECCO and the surrounding communities,” she said.
Jean Louldine Dieujust, of Everett, had been working for almost four years at NECCO when the announcement of the closure came in July. She said she is limited to the shifts she can work because she has to take care of her little son.
David Cordeiro, of Cambridge, worked with NECCO for 39 years as a laborer and materials handler, and he has never had to go on a job search, and last week’s job fair was something he never thought he would have to go to.
“I would have stayed longer but circumstances denied me,” Cordeiro said.
Revere resident Juan Figueroa, had been with NECCO for 29 years supporting his wife and four kids. He talked to the mayor about the closure and the job fair.
“It’s a shame what they did,” he said. “The employees tried to help in 2012 and 2017 by taking no wage increase so the business could grow.”
The first hour and a half will be reserved for former NECCO employees.
Openings for machine operators, food production, mechanics, machinists, shipping/receiving, sanitation, warehouse workers, packaging workers, transportation, production workers, general maintenance, bookkeeping, manufacturing, and supervisors/general managers, were represented at the job fair.
New England’s oldest continually operating candy company at one time had 400 employees but was down to 200 at closure. Employees had expected closure but not until November.
Many of the former NECCO employees are between the ages of 50-60 and many are immigrants with limited English.
“The City of Revere and the Commonwealth’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development Rapid Response Team worked together to hold this job fair,” said Arrigo. “We got a great response from the business community after NECCO was shut down. We immediately turned our efforts toward helping those who lost their jobs, and as employers started to contact the Mayor’s office hoping to connect with the displaced employees, it became apparent that there would be quite a few employers looking to hire workers.”