By PABLINA LOPEZ

ATLANTA– The LAA, (Latin American Association), Georgia’s largest non-profit supporting Latino immigrants, hosts their 33rd annual bilingual career fair at the LAA headquarters.

Waves of people circulated the conference hall as they eagerly awaited to introduce themselves to professionals across Atlanta. The scene was competitive as prospective employees lined up to score a preliminary interview with their dream company.

Career fair walk-ins make appointments for later that day at the check in station. Photo by Pablina Lopez
Career fair walk-ins make appointments for later that day at the check in station. Photo by Pablina Lopez

“We get all different people from all parts for the community to attend this fair and our events,” shared Kristell Engram, an employment specialist of workforce development at the LAA, “When it comes to employment services we get non-english speaking immigrants wanting a chance at a first job, but at the same time multilingual college graduates are looking for opportunities here also.”

Companies like Delta, Turner Broadcasting, Wells Fargo, and Univision 34 Atlanta were among the few major companies seeking out bilingual employees.

The LAA headquarters in Atlanta. Photo by Pablina Lopez
The LAA headquarters in Atlanta. Photo by Pablina Lopez

Denis Rodriguez, 22, a student of the American InterContinental University expressed how the fair exceeded his expectations,“ I think this is a great community effort. There were a lot of hispanic companies and multilingual oriented companies. It’s great to see all the positions available in my area.”

The process was organized and well-balanced for those seeking employment or hiring. It gave the opportunity for prospective candidates to receive exposure with companies and gave companies a chance to really talk and collect information from interested candidates.

“They were able to steer you, it was catered to us and companies really showed what they had to offer to us instead of us selling ourselves constantly,” said Tonya Montoya, a 25-year-old retail specialist. “I am looking for a change in career and I think I got some great leads.”

Before the creation of this event, applicants had to send in a copy of their resume and undergo a preliminary interview with a representative of the LAA. If the interview was accepted then candidates could set up an ally to attend the fair. This would allow a maximum of 40 to 50 people circulating the fair at one time every hour from 9 to 2 pm.

Entrance to the 33rd LAA career fair. Photo by Pablina Lopez
Entrance to the 33rd LAA career fair. Photo by Pablina Lopez

The LAA has played a significant role in the Latino immigrant community in Atlanta since 1972 and is continuing to create an impact.

“In the LAA we have different departments that focus on different needs,” explained Engram, “We have the family services department, immigration department, workforce development department (that includes language classes and translations) and the youth department. We try to provide resources for every need.”

Arial view of the headquarter lobby as people wait for the next group to enter. Photo by Pablina Lopez
Arial view of the headquarter lobby as people wait for the next group to enter. Photo by Pablina Lopez

The non-profit is maintaining its legacy by providing the tools and resources to Latino children, women and men as they try to reach their full potential in a new community.

For more information on  the Latin American Association or how to attend future events, please visit their website at www.thelaa.org

Volunteers, Sandra Ramos, Leslie Castrejon and Haley Wilken at the check-in station. Photo by Pablina Lopez
Volunteers, Sandra Ramos, Leslie Castrejon and Haley Wilken at the check-in station. Photo by Pablina Lopez
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