Today marks the fifth month since Steven Goyena was laid off from his logistical engineering job at Silver Spring-based Link Simulation Systems in a downsizing that left the defense company with 600 employees, down from a high of 1,500 in 1985.
Yesterday, Mr. Goyena, 53, attended Job Fairs 1990 at Festival Hall in Baltimore, handed out his resume to employers and gave on-the-spot interviews in hopes of landing a job before the end of the month.
"I'm running into thousands of people like me," Mr. Goyena, who worked 13 years at Link Simulation, said as he waited in line for a chance to talk to chemical giant W. R. Grace & Co.
An estimated 5,500 people attended the fair, which featured 11 employers. It was sponsored by the Maryland Department of Economic Development and The Baltimore Sun. Department officials said the turnout was bigger than expected.
Some, like Mr. Goyena, had been unemployed for several months; some were looking for a career change; and others just attended out of curiosity.
Yesterday's fair was geared toward two groups: professional, sales and information systems; and clerical, data entry and light industrial.
"I'm looking for anything that pays a decent salary," said Mike Wetherson, who was fired from his job at Wendy's two months ago.
Mr. Wetherson, 22, said he is finding the job market extremely tight and has spent several days walking into the malls in Randallstown, Reisterstown and Pikesville looking for a place to work. "You have to compete with thousands of other people out there," he said.
Abel Stukes, wearing jeans and a plaid shirt, stood against a pole in the clerical and office-support side of the fair and watched other job-seekers while he decided which booth to go to first.
The 33-year-old equipment operator said he already has a job but has been looking for a new one in computer programming for about a year.
"Diane," who works in a Baltimore laboratory, made her way to the booths to see if any of the jobs interested her. "I had some comp time coming, and since it was such a beautiful day, I decided to come down to the harbor and check it out," she said. "Always looking."
By far the most popular booth yesterday was a computerized job bank, which lists the jobs available by area of the state and category with the touch of a button. There were still about 15 people waiting in line at the booth by the time the fair ended at 5 p.m.
Job Fairs 1990 for the health-care and nursing fields is scheduled for today at the Quality Inn in Towson from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.