On his day off, Shannon Laa strolled through several exhibits at a career fair for Pearl Harbor Shipyard, looking for a line of work that offers more pay and stability than his current job as a truck driver.
“Just trying to see what options I get out there besides what I do now,” he said. “This is good.”
About 4,000 people turned out yesterday for the annual Pearl Harbor Apprenticeship and Engineering Career Fair at Honolulu Community College in search of opportunities or to chase their dreams. That number was down from the 6,000-plus who attended last year, but some people might be planning to apply online, said event spokeswoman Lianne Nakahara.
Ramsey and Denby Pasatiempo of Ewa Beach attended the event with their two children, Seyden, 3, and Ramden, 2, to get information about joining the Federal Police Department, which was also recruiting.
Ramsey Pasatiempo, who works as a security officer at Pearl Harbor, said being a federal police officer was “something I always saw myself doing.”
The shipyard held the career fair to recruit replacements for an exodus of baby-boomer employees who will retire over the next five to 10 years. The shipyard will hire about 150 people by the end of this year.
Apprentices will receive training and get paid $19 an hour with full benefits. After four years, graduates will earn $28 or more an hour.
At one booth for sheet metal fabrications, Darren Ezawa showed passers-by the items his department makes by hand, such as signs and air ducts.
“It’s been pretty busy,” he said.
Kepa Morris, 26, who came with kids Raiden, 5, and Jessica, 4, said he had attended the fair two years ago and isn’t giving up on a federal job. A construction worker, he was looking for something more stable.
“Every year, I try to come,” he said.
He said he planned to find out which shops were hiring the most and, of those, which trades interested him the most.
“You’ve got to love your job if you’re going to stay there for a while,” he said.
The Ramos family also came looking for better opportunities. Farryl Ramos, 43, of Ewa Beach has been building houses at Fort Shafter since January, but the work is scheduled to end by June. Last year, he didn’t work for seven months.
While the pay would be less as an apprentice, he said he wants something steady because the long periods without a paycheck are “stressful.”
He came with his wife, Sophia, his adult daughters Nalani and Naomie, and his 3-year-old daughter Nalei.
Naomie, who showed up with fiance Adam Aila and their 5-month-old daughter, works at a bank, but said she’s interested in something more exciting, such as welding or fabrications.
Aila took an interest in working as a federal firefighter.
Sophia Ramos said she found the fair more informative than others because the workers were there to explain what they do.
“I feel more comfortable here than I do at the regular (job fairs),” she said. “It’s a family thing.”