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Program has jobs but needs applicants

Day Tyson was looking for a new job. And like so many others, she wasn't having much luck.

She remembered a flier she had seen about job opportunities for African-Americans through the Urban League. At last, an open door.

Tyson completed her second week Friday as a freight analyst for Tech Data, using a computer to track down shipments lost by package shippers.

There are plenty of jobs out there for African-Americans, said Yvette Feazell, an employment specialist for the Pinellas County Urban League. You just need to know where to look.

Local businesses send Feazell about 20 listings a week for jobs in clerical work, manufacturing, mechanics, purchasing and customer service. She said they ask specifically for African-Americans, but only about 17 people come to her office at the Omni Center each week.

"Businesses want to diversify," Feazell said. "We have the supply (of jobs) but don't have the demand. Listings don't always appear in the newspaper. People who come in have an advantage right there for being our client."

Tyson, 23, moved to Largo in November and began working for Head Start in February. But she wanted an opportunity for advancement and more money. She interviewed with Tech Data on a Thursday and started work that Monday.

"When I first moved here, I looked and I looked and I looked," Tyson said. "Filling out applications, going to different businesses _ it was an everyday thing. I had no help whatsoever. I was near desperate."

The Urban League made it easier.

"I hate to say it's about the money, but it is," Tyson said. "I'm a single parent." She has a 3-year-old daughter. "My work is really appreciated here. It's a place where I can advance."

Each person fills out an application and Feazell determines what jobs he or she is qualified for. The applicant is sent for an interview with a written referral.

Each week, two or three people from Feazell's office are hired for full-time positions paying $6 an hour to as much as $10 an hour with fringe benefits. Compu-link, Baxter Health Care, Winn-Dixie and the Pinellas County School Board have hired through the Urban League.

"I know when I was first looking for a job, I couldn't find anything," Feazell said. "I wish I'd had this service."


The Urban League job service is at the Omni Center, 1801 119th St. N near Largo. Call 581-7661.