CEDAR RAPIDS – Quaker Oats held a job recruitment session on Monday to fill a few jobs. Hundreds of people showed up to apply.
The latest unemployment numbers available for Iowa show unemployment rose slightly in January to 6.6 percent. There are 24,000 fewer jobs in Iowa than a year ago. 111,000 Iowans are out of work. That's the most since 1985.
Quaker Oats has about fifteen jobs open right now. They're production jobs that will pay between 18 and 25 dollars an hour.
"Once people come to Quaker, they stay at Quaker. So, there is not a lot of attrition," Quaker Oats Human Resources representative Abby Nolan said.
The chance to work for a well-established, relatively stable company provides a sense of hope to the unemployed.
"It's almost impossible to find a job right now. The economy is horrible," applicant Terra Tusing said.
Another applicant, Chelsea Wheeler, said, "Hopefully, I will get it. If not, at least they have my application for future positions."
Quaker recruiters were not surprised by the turnout and said the hiring process is more difficult than ever because there are so many qualified applicants.
"It does make the screening process even more important and gives us a lot of choices, so that's a wonderful thing," Nolan said.
Many people filling out applications have decades of experience.
"The manufacturing sector is really tough. That's all I've been doing for the past twenty-two years. With all the plants that have been closing, it's really tough," applicant Rob Bierl said.
With this many candidates, the chances of getting one of the fifteen jobs are slim, but everyone believes it's worth their time to apply.
Quaker will host another application event on Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 6301 Kirkwood Boulevard. The company expects to hire within the next few months.