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'I'LL TAKE WHAT I CAN GET' Hundreds vie for jobs at the new ballpark


More than 500 people turned out at Memorial Stadium yesterday for the chance to interview for 400 new concession and food service jobs at the new Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

ARA Services, manager of food, beverage and souvenir sales at the stadium, conducted the interviews starting at 3 p.m. yesterday. The interviews will continue today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Near the front of the line was a group of students from the Philadelphia Training Center, who had walked from the school on East Baltimore Street and arrived at the stadium at 10:30 a.m.

One of the students, 19-year-old Leon Hector, said he would take "anything" ARA offered. "It's no jobs out there. The economy stinks," he said.

Maurice Baker, who walked from his home on 33rd Street in search of work, also said he wasn't particular as long as he could get a job.

"I'm not prejudiced in the work department. Full- or part-time, I'll take what I can get," said Mr. Baker, who lost his job as a machine operator at Noxell Corp. last year and has been supporting himself as a musician while looking for full-time work.

The line of those waiting to interview stretched from the main entrance up a hill through the parking lot and down a block of 33rd Street.

Most of those who waited were not youngsters in search of summer jobs. They were adults, many of whom had been laid off and were looking for any kind of work that would help make ends meet.

Jay Boyle, general manager for ARA Services, said he was surprised at the turnout. "It looks like I'm going to have a lot more than I expected," he said. In addition to the 400 new jobs, ARA has offered to rehire 300 workers from Memorial Stadium, but it is not known how many will move to the new stadium.

Near the end of the line stood Lennette Grimes of Baltimore's Cherry Hill neighborhood. The stop at the stadium was her fourth job interview of the day. A single mother of two children, Ms. Grimes lost her job as an assistant manager in a retail store in August. "I'll take anything, even a part-time job now," she said.

Mary Brown of Cockeysville was hoping to find a job as a cook. She said she was amazed at the crowd that stood waiting for interviews. "This is the first time I've had to stand in line for a job," she said.

Darnell Wesley, an unemployed janitor, was exasperated to find himself near the end of the line. "I should have slept out overnight," he said.

ARA employees were working desperately to manage the crowd. Security guards were screening applicants to make certain they had brought identification cards.

Once inside, the applicants were given nine-page applications to complete. They were then taken to another room inside the Hit & Run Club to await their turn to be interviewed.

In addition to the concession stand workers and vendors, ARA needs to fill new jobs that did not exist at Memorial Stadium. The new stadium will have a banquet room, a private club, new deli shops, and buffets and lounges, and ARA said it must hire waiters, waitresses, cooks and bartenders.

Most of the jobs are part-time, but Mr. Boyle said ARA will need about 50 full-time workers. Some will be paid commissions, and others will earn $5 to $8 an hour.

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