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Hundreds See their Future at Hotel Job Fair

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The DoubleTree by Hilton hotel doesn’t open for a couple of months, but already Abbass Abdul-Baatin sees the opportunities it might bring. With eyes on breaking into the culinary world, he was one of hundreds of applicants at the hotel’s job fair Monday afternoon.

“I thought it was a really good opportunity because I want to get my foot into the culinary business. This seemed like a good way to get in there,” he said after his preinterview at the Covelli Centre. 

After filling out applications in the arena’s concourse, applicants were sent upstairs to the Youngstown State University Community Room to meet with hotel management. Among the positions the hotel is looking for, said director of sales Amy Liakaris, are banquet servers – which Abdul-Baatin applied for – housekeepers, maintenance workers and front desk staff.

“The front desk is on the smaller scale. We’re looking for 10 to 15 candidates in that position,” she said. “Housekeeping will be the majority of the positions we’re hiring for. There’s also one HR accountant, one chief engineer and one housekeeping supervisor.”

In total, DoubleTree is looking to fill roughly 40 positions between now and the hotel’s grand opening in early May. Hourly wages are from $9 to $13 with a few salaried positions available. The session Monday was to give management face-time with applicants. Later this month, applicants will be called back and the final hires selected and trained.

About an hour into the hotel job fair, Liakaris said, 100 people had arrived and more than 500 people were expected to apply for positions in person, with more coming in through postings on the OhioMeansJobs website.


Residents line up to apply for some 40 positions at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel job fair.

“We’re very excited for the turnout,” Liakaris said. “We’re looking for qualified candidates and we’re looking to hire within Youngstown. We want to keep it local as much as we can. We’re trying to get the community together and involved in a project of this magnitude.”

The decision to host a job fair, she continued, was due to the number of inquiries about working at DoubleTree.

“This gets the community involved, gets the Covelli Centre involved and brings it to downtown Youngstown,” she said.

Among many of the applicants, there was some excitement not only the potential of getting jobs at the hotel, but the arrival of a hotel downtown at all. The hotel would be the first in Youngstown’s central business district since the mid-1970s.

“It’d be a lot closer for me. Right now everything’s in Boardman or Liberty,” said Ahmad Parker, who applied for a housekeeping position. “Downtown would be great for me.”

Added Abdul-Baatin, “I’m real excited because right now all the hotels are in Boardman or Warren. With a hotel here, it’ll be real busy and popular.”

The hotel is scheduled to open the first week of May. Previously, it was announced that the DoubleTree would open later this month, but the decision to delay the grand opening was made to allow time for the restaurant on the first floor – locally owned Bistro 1907 – to be completed.

The $32-million project, led by NYO Property Group, was announced in November 2014.

Pictured: DoubleTree by Hilton director of sales Amy Liakaris said about 500 people were expected to apply at the hotel job fair.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.