They lined up early at Sun Life Stadium, not looking for tickets to a game, but looking for work.
About 500 people showed up for the Miami Dolphins' opportunity job fair Thursday morning. The Dolphins are promising more than 4,000 local jobs over a two year period if the proposed $350 million renovation project is approved.
"I'm hoping that I'll be employed," said job seeker Eric Westbrook. "That's my expectation."
The job fair allowed applicants to register for opportunities to work on the project and participate in interview and resume workshops.
"I'm just hoping it's not a trick by the Miami Dolphins to use this as leverage to give money saying that they have all these people signed up for jobs," said construction superintendent Nick Wallace.
Whether the renovation project even begins has yet to be decided. Florida lawmakers still have to approve the bill approving the renovations and have until Friday, when the legislative session ends.
"I hope it passes because, if itpasses, everybody out here will be employed," said Embry Byrd, a construction supervisor who is currently unemployed. "If it doesn't get passed, then I won't say this will be a a waste of time, but at least we can register for other future employment."
If the bill does not pass, there will still be 700 job openings at the stadium to fill security, ushering and custodial openings.
The Miami-Dade County Commission has already signed off on letting voters decide whether the county should help the Dolphins upgrade Sun Life Stadium.
The referendum calls for voters to approve or disapprove of the plan which would do the following:
- Raise the hotel bed tax from 6% to 7%; the team would get 75% of the revenue from that hike, about $7.5 million a year, for 26 years; the tourist tax will help the team generate about $289 million
- The Dolphins are required to pay the county back $120 million in 30 years
- The team is paying for more than half of the $350 million plan, which includes building a glass roof over the seating area, new lighting, new video screens, and bringing the seats closer to the field
The county and the team claim Super Bowls bring an estimated economic impact to the area of more than $500 million, but that number is disputed by many economists who say it's much lower.
The team has said the project could bring some 4,000 jobs to Miami-Dade for up to 24 months or until the project is done. At least 70 percent of the jobs will go to Miami-Dade residents, according to the Dolphins.