Sign of the times: Man tries new tactic in his search for job

Kenny Torsiello holds a Will Work sign at 5th Street and Pitkin Avenue.

Kenny Torsiello is kicking himself now for leaving his job three weeks ago when his hours were set to be reduced.

Instead of waiting around at home these days for employers to contact him, the 41-year-old is taking his message to the streets.

Using his cherry-red, 1986 Ford Bronco as a backdrop, Torsiello camped out Thursday near the busy, four-way intersection of Fifth Street and Pitkin Avenue next to a handmade cardboard sign that read, “I don’t do drugs, I don’t need $, I need a job.”

“Even if somebody offered me $20, I wouldn’t take it,” Torsiello insisted, dressed in a sweatshirt, blue jeans and hiking boots. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that.”

Torsiello, who has 15 years of dry walling and construction experience under his belt, is just about ready to take any position, “even dish washing,” he said. He also is a licensed driver and will take his Class B test next month.

Torsiello said he quit his full-time job at Alpine Building Supply after his employers wanted to reduce his hours to about 32 per week. In retrospect, Torsiello wishes he hadn’t done that. He said he has visited the Colorado Workforce Center nearly every day since then and
completed two dozen applications, without a nibble.

Torsiello said he is living with his father while looking for a job, and his funds have dwindled to $5.43 in his bank account. He had to quit his cell phone service and used the last of his earnings to purchase insurance for his truck, he said.

“My work ethic is pretty good. I’m reliable. I have transportation,” he said.

Torsiello said he couldn’t get hired at a local temp agency, because he has a felony conviction. He said he did his time, more than three years locally at community corrections for a count of forgery, an incident in which he wrote a check on a friend’s account. Torsiello said he paid back the stolen amount in full and remains friends with the man.

Since moving to the Grand Valley from New Jersey in 1998, this is the worst job market Torsiello can remember.

Torsiello decided to save fuel and take his chances standing near his sign Thursday, hopeful that if he can’t find work, maybe it will come to him. Torsiello said he’ll be back on the street corner today and thinks he’ll gain employment by Monday. He’s armed with a pen and paper, ready to collect names.

“I feel highly optimistic about it,” Torsiello said. “Everybody’s driving by, giving me the thumbs up and waving.”


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