Walmart has opened two hiring centers in the District to fill 1500 jobs in its new stores. News4's Tom Sherwood spoke to some of the jobseekers about the potential for new careers. (Published Monday, Sep 23, 2013)
The D.C. Walmart saga took another step toward its conclusion Monday as the retailer opened two hiring centers in the city.
Walmart plans to open stores on Georgia Avenue NW and H Street NW before the year is over.
Hiring centers opened Monday at 900 2nd Street NE and 7818 Eastern Avenue NW to streamline the hiring process and encourage people who are not web-savvy or without an internet connection to apply.
The hiring center on 2nd Street is just a block away from the store's H Street location and will offer about 300 positions in the 80,000-square-foot space.
The Eastern Avenue center will also hire about 300 people for the 103,000-square-foot Georgia Avenue store.
Both centers will be open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Walmart also encourages people who do have an internet connection to apply online.
Walmart's presence in the district was not a given. Before last Tuesday, the retailer's plans were on hold as the "living wage" bill made its way onto Mayor Vincent Gray's desk.
But Gray vetoed the bill, called the Large Retailer Accountability Act, which would have required the company to pay its employees a minimum of $12.50 an hour.
Minimum wage in the district currently stands at $8.25 an hour.
The company hopes to bring about 1,500 new retail jobs to the city once all five planned stores are completed. A sixth store was put on hold due to a developer issue.
Walmart threatened to cancel the stores if the living wage bill passed.
Applicant Tyron Mitchell was happy for the opportunity to apply.
"Some people thought, Oh, Walmart doesn't pay enough," he said. "I mean, a job is a job."
Applicants Monday -- some with college and retail experience -- said they mainly wanted a chance.
"Like with any other career, I think you should be able to start at an entry level and work your way up," Delonte Briggs said.
Some applicants who signed up online in advance had one-on-one interviews Monday.
H Street store manager Eric Quist said he heard firsthand from people who were emotional about trying to get a job.
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