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Line stretches around block for hotel jobs

March 24, 2009 (CHICAGO) (WLS) More than 1,000 people waited in line Tuesday for a chance to work at Chicago's newest Loop hotel.
The Wit Hotel, which will open in about two months, has 300 positions to fill. The line stretched out of the Oriental Theater, down State Street and into a nearby alley, there's no shortage of applicants.
And, the competition is steep. The nation's unemployment rate is about 8-percent, which means more and more people are looking for jobs.
"The early bird catches the worm. That's me," said Elana Chatman, who was first in line for the hotel job fair at 4 a.m.

I need this job. My bills still go on. And I need this," Chatman said.
The Wit is a 27-story, 298-room facility that will have restaurants, a rooftop lounge, full service spa and health club facilities.
"We are hoping to hire as many people as humanly possible. It's a challenging economy. We're proud to be opening at this point in time," said John Callan, The Wit Hotel.
Many people in line have plenty of hotel experience.
"I was a hotel employee for 19 years at one hotel. I have a family to raise. I have a grandson. I have bills to pay. I'm just looking to get my foot in the door somewhere," said Tim Bailey, job hopeful.
Mike Nelyon remembers standing in line for an interview in 1992 when the Sheraton opened.
"You don't get a lot of time in these things, because there are a lot of people they need to see. So you get a couple of minutes to impress," said Mike Neylon.
A long time in line for just a few minutes with those who hire. But the chance to apply for a job is worth the wait.
"I know that if I don't stand in line, then I have no chance," said Justin Bareither, job hopeful.
"I don't even live in the city. I live in Shorewood, Illinois, an hour drive, you know, just standing in line waiting to get in," said Mike Skinner, job hopeful.
Some of the job seekers have been out of work for more than a year.
"I'll wipe down tables. Anything, as long as I can pay the bills," said Jeffrey Ollie, job hopeful.
"The financial situation is low. I'm here to try to get a job help my mother out the best I can," said Isabel Gutierrez, job hopeful.
The line was cutoff this afternoon and many people did not get the chance to interview.

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