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Job fair attracts Disney

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Nearly 6,000 job seekers attended yesterday's Job Quest job fair at Blaisdell Center. Many - like Lanford Sayson and his mother, Maria Sayson - were interested in a presentation about positions at Aulani, the Disney resort at Ko Olina. Disney expects to hire 800 people by the time the resort opens Aug. 29.
  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Pei Ching Lin, left, has been looking for a job for about a year, and she stopped by the Sumitomo Corp. of America booth to talk with Timothy Deegan.
  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Todd Apo, director of public affairs for the Disney resort at Ko Olina, top left, talks to a crowd of people waiting to see a presentation by Disney at yesterday's job fair at Blaisdell Center. An estimated crowd of 5,900 attended the fair.
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Walt Disney Co. will have 800 — mostly local — employees at their posts when the Aulani Resort & Spa at Ko Olina opens on Aug. 29, the company said yesterday at a job fair.

Another 400 workers will be hired in subsequent months as the resort opens its second and third phase, said Elliot Mills, the resort’s general manager.

The Disney booth was a major attraction at the Job Quest job fair, with a capacity crowd turning out for each of the of 20-minute informational sessions it held for prospective employees throughout the day at the Neal Blaisdell Center.

Of the 5,900 job seekers who attended the job fair, an estimated 2,400 sat through the Disney session, in which they were briefed on the hiring process and what kind of employee the company is looking for.

"Are you excited?" upbeat Disney recruiter Lianne Maeda asked one of the groups. "E komo mai."

Those who make the first cut will be invited to participate in an online interview. Applicants who advance will then be interviewed over the phone, she said

Disney is filling 25 managerial positions. The bulk of the hiring will occur between April and July, Mills said.

"We’re here to meet people and tell them more about Aulani," said Mills, noting that the first step in the hiring process is to fill out an application online at www.aulani.jobs. "We hope to do most of the hiring locally," he said.

"We’re looking for people who are very engaging. We have a great asset out there but we feel the people who we are going to hire and be a part of our ohana are going to make the difference," Mills said.

"We want people who are going to work with us to share the stories of Hawaii, share the culture."

Jerry and Lani Hidalgo of Ewa Beach said they were looking for part-time jobs at Disney to help them stay active in their retirement.

"We’re re-entering the work force and we wanted to do something fun, something outdoors, said Lani, 67. She said she would be interested in working at Aunty’s Beach House, a children’s activity center planned for the resort.

The Hidalgos, originally from Hawaii, worked on the East Coast for 40 years before returning to the islands to retire.

Jerry, 70, retired from a career with the Coast Guard and then worked in the telecommunications office of the U.S. Senate. He said he would be interested in any job at the resort, but would prefer one where he could use his credentials as a boat pilot.

Danielle Nelson moved to Hawaii recently from Blacksburg, Va., where she worked at The Inn at Virginia Tech doing a variety of jobs.

"I know Disney’s not opening for a while, but I thought I’d check it out," she said.

The presence of Disney and Swinerton Builders was a major factor in the strong turnout at the job fair, said Beth Busch, president of event organizer Success Advertising. Swinerton and its subcontractors are hiring workers for several contracts it has to renovate government buildings in Honolulu.

Success Advertising organizes three job fairs a year at the Blaisdell in January, May and September. There were 135 employers at yesterday’s job fair, down from the 160 at the previous Job Quest job fair in September, but up from the 105 who were recruiting a year ago.

"I would say we have 20 percent more jobs at this fair then we did in September, mostly due to Disney and Swinerton," Busch said.

"People here are hiring more. I can tell when people are coming to show face and when they’re coming to hire, and they’re here to hire."

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