SPRINGFIELD – Emanuel Quinones was nervous. Not because he was talking with Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni, but because he was a little intimidated talking to potential summer employers.
“I still get nervous when I have to talk with some people,” Gulluni told the 15-year old. “You have to press through it and you have to practice.”
Gulluni was hosting his third annual Hoop Up Springfield event, a day of basketball, job fairs, and advice.
More than 200 young men and women and an army of volunteers filled the Butova Gymnasiun at American International College to learn and teach some basketball skills at morning clinics, meet recruiters from area companies and play in a 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the afternoon.
“We get them with the basketball, but really the important thing is the jobs.” said Gulluni. He went on to say that giving these kids self confidence, skills, and a new suit (donated by Suit Up Springfield), and giving them a chance to interview and have a shot at a summer job is what is really important.
Employers who were on-site to interview potential employees for the summer included: Big Y, Springfield Public Schools, City of Springfield, Walmart, C & S Wholesale Grocers, Starbucks, Six Flags New England, the Regional Employment Board, the New England Farm Workers Council, Institute of Abilities, the Youth Build Program, Lambda Beta Sigma Alumnae Chapter/Sigma Rho Sorority, Inc., the AIC Campus Store/Follett, and the Springfield Thunderbirds with special guest appearance by Boomer.
“Studies have shown that summer jobs help to reduce violent crime among youths,” Gulluni said. “Assisting our young people in accessing summer employment will help keep them safe during summer while providing them with a positive experience they can carry with them into adulthood.”