One source of extra cash for pope’s visit: security jobs

Dan Kelley

Need extra cash?

Private security companies in Philadelphia plan to hire hundreds of people to beef uppersonnel at office buildings, hotels and hospitals during the Pope’s visit.

The city expects more than 1.5 million pilgrims to come to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families. That, officials say, could create a lot of economic opportunity.

While the jobs may not be as lucrative as some Airbnb rentals, officials say they provide a solid opportunity for people looking for work to get their foot in the door.

At theoffices ofCareerLink on Wednesday — the state-funded job center for the unemployed –supervisors from U.S. Security Associates were on hand to explain the application process to prospective people.

“We’re the next closest thing to the cops,” said Frank Duggan, a branch manager for the firm. “If you can’t tell people no, this isn’t for you.”

Dozens of people packed attended the company’s presentation — though one man left before applying because he didn’t like crowds.

Duggan said who said thefirm anticipates hiring between 60 and 150 people for 3-week temporary positions in late September.

Other security companies also expect to bring people on for the pope’s visit.

The jobs were pitched as an opportunity for people to work a temporary job that could turn full time in the future.

One big question the applicants had waswhat sort of criminal convictions barred you from getting hired.

Duggan said felonies would definitely disqualify you. Applicants with a drunk driving arrest in their background may get hired, but wouldn’t be allowed to drive.

West Philadelphia resident Rosemary Thompson, who works for a Center City florist, was like many people at the job fair. She was looking to pick up extra hours.

“Maybe I’ll get to see the pope,” Thompson said. “It’s a big thing for our city, and I like to work.”

Duggan, however, said the jobs were just that — jobs.

“This is not an opportunity for you to meet the pope,” he said. “This is not an opportunity to take pictures. We take security very seriously.”

The security positions pay between $8 and $10 an hour.

Don, a West Philadelphia resident who declined to give his last name said he’s worked as a security guard for 20 years.

There’s one thing he likes about it.

“You always get a job,” Don said, “as long as you don’t have a record.”

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