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Columbia police and fire departments to help local unemployment

The Columbia police andfirefightershope to help people in a different way than usual this weekend.

Tuesday,theyannouncedthey will host a job fair with the hope of getting people off the streets and into the work force.

A number of officers and firefighters would go out on their typical calls and ask people what else they could be doing to help them- over and overagain. Thepeople would say”Ineed a job.”

Steven Bowen is homeless and struggling in his search for a job in Columbia saying his search is “bleak.”

It’s more then just his appearance–employers don’t like as Bowen as a job candidate.

“Idon’t fit the criteria,I’mnot perfectly shaved, my hair is too long or I have a criminal history or you know they aren’t looking for my qualifications orI’m overqualified,”Bowen said.

The listseems toneverend.

Bowen says it’s aggravating when employers discriminate against him.

“Ifyou’rea homelessguy,they aren’t looking at you. You know I don’t think it’s fair they would discriminate just because I have no where to live,” Bowen says.

Columbia police say having a job is a basic need.

A basic need Steve Bowen is missing–and one of the many reasons authorities are hosting the job fair.

But even the police and firedepartmentsrealize they don’tfitthe criteria as organizers.

That’s not something the police or fire traditionally help with so we decided to create the opportunity,” said Geoff Jones,spokesman for theColumbia PoliceDepartment.

They hope finding employment for those out of work will help police and fire in a differentway:decrease crime and show the citizens they serve they are willing to help in different ways.

For more information visit CPD’s website.

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