FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Cars circled the Fort Worth Sheraton in downtown searching for parking spaces as people stood in lines alongside the hotel waiting for a chance to interview for a job at Lockheed Martin.
Some job seekers even showed up at 6:30 a.m. to attend the military contractor’s job fair.
“I was like, ‘I’ll be one of the first ones there and get in and get out – get done.’ But here I am,” said applicant Austin Riley as he sat on a curb nearly a hundred yards from where the line snaked into the hotel.
Six hours after he arrived, Riley and hundreds of other hopeful applicants battled the heat as they waited for a job interview. Lockheed provided awnings
“It’s just water bottle after water bottle,” Riley said. “It’s about all you can do really. And every once in a while I catch a breeze and it’s nice!”
Twenty-two hundred people registered for the job fair online, hundreds more just showed up wanting to apply.
“I just got out of the Air Force in April,” Riley said “So, it’s… I’m looking to be able to work for a bigger cause again.”
Once they made it inside, applicants were led into two huge ballrooms full of interviewers. Many were offered jobs on the spot. Lockheed Martin needs 1,800 new workers as it ramps up joint strike fighter production, and other jobs are open too.
“We have other positions just through natural attrition and things that happened in the company,” said Lockheed Martin spokesman Ken Ross. “And we’re making sure we fill that pipeline. Here in Fort Worth we have a population of about 13,500 so we are always hiring.”
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Stephen Czubak. “I found out about it, in fact, in just the past 10 days. And took a chance and scheduled my flight this past weekend.”
Czubak came from Virginia to roll the dice on starting a new career in Texas.
“Opportunities like this just don’t come around all the time,” he said. “Fortune favors the bold.”
And Lockheed favored Czubak with a job as an engineer and a chance to throw himself into Texas culture.
“I’m excited to see what it has to offer and I’m going to eat all the brisket my stomach can handle,” he laughed.
Lockheed said it had offered jobs to more than 600 people and is planning another job fair in August.