- Real Estate
- Under Cover
- Special Editorial
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BY TEQUILA MINSKY | The hard hats are putting finishing touches on the steps facing West and Gansefoort Sts. With one month to go, the Whitney Museum looks like an in-progress building site, but not for long. May 1 is the opening date for the Whitney’s relocation from its Upper East Side address to an expanded new home in the Meatpacking District.
A couple of weeks ago, the Whitney held a job fair for customer-contact jobs. In the middle of the still-under-construction lobby, tables were set up and job applicants were able to speak to the managers of the museum’s various departments with job openings.
“We have 180 positions we’re hiring for,” said Adrian Hardwicke, director of Visitor Experiences, which means public-contact jobs. The jobs are in the areas of security, retail, membership services, ticketing and volunteering.
“We didn’t want this museum to land as an alien spaceship,” he explained. “We want to include the community.”
Not to mention that being able to walk to work is an advantage for everyone.
To this end, announcements for the job fair were sent to local community organizations, like SAGE, Hudson Guild and the Lower East Side Employment Network. Fliers were posted in local libraries, announcements were made at meetings of Community Boards 2 and 3, and e-mail blasts were fired off.
At the job fair, 162 job applicants came through the doors, resumes and cover letters in hand. Many came out of curiosity. They were all ages.
“They were a diverse cross section, matching the jobs available,” Hardwicke said.
Some had backgrounds in retail, catering, teaching or the hotel industry. There were artists checking out the possibilities, including a couple who had just moved from D.C., having left government jobs.
Hardwicke elaborated that of the 180 positions, 120 are in food services.
Stephane Birmingham, membership manager, said she personally spoke with about 100 people at the job fair.
“We never had a dedicated department for volunteer applicants,” noted Meryl Schwartz, the Whitney’s volunteer manager, who actually has a newly created job herself. “I spoke with 15 to 20 job applicants,” she said, astounded that some who walked through the door possibly looking for a job actually might be interested in volunteering, as well.
Following receipt of the resumes, Whitney managers have held group interviews and are now holding individual interviews.
Is it too late to apply?
“It’s never too late,” said Hardwicke, recommending that job hopefuls send a cover letter and resume to email@example.com.
(The Web site www.whitney.org also has a range of more job openings that are not in the field of customer contact.)
The managers will have all hires in place by April 13.
Hardwicke emphasized how, along with outreach education programs, the world-renowned museum is trying to create something relevant to the people in the local community.
“We want to build relationships to our immediate neighbors while having a global presence,” she said.
The museum’s grand opening will be May 1.