CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Chattanooga is just a couple of months away from opening a new, upscale hotel, and it needs workers to fill all the posts.

On Monday, managers for the new Embassy Suites near Hamilton Place held a job fair to hire local people. Right now, there are nearly 20,000 people in Chattanooga without a job, and that doesn't include those who simply stopped looking for one.

Joella Harwell has been looking for a job to utilize her skills for three years now.

"I've applied at several other jobs that were just temporary or whatever, but I'm looking for more full-time positions," she said.

She hopes the end of the road will be at the new Embassy Suites. Harwell is one of about 200 people looking to fill nearly 60 positions that are set to open mid-May.

"We are very cognizant of how important it is to continue to bring jobs into the city," said Embassy Suites General Manager Paul Mezick. He said he's happy his hotel can help fill a job void in the area.

Tennessee and Chattanooga's unemployment rate has improved slightly in the past year. Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percentage point from last year, to 7.8 percent in February 2013. Chattanooga's unemployment rate dropped slightly from 7.9 percent to 7.8 percent last month.

Still, nearly 20,000 people are without a job in Chattanooga. And the job search can be a daunting game that no one wants to play.

Embassy Suites job applicant Marcel Thompson says the job fair is a way to break the wall of the Internet and meet the employers face to face.  

"I've been searching really hard on email, and it seems to be impossible, so it's better to put in an application," he said.

Harwell is hoping to land a job in the switchboard department.

"I think it's really the heart of the hotel, and I like to talk on the telephone. My 30 years of work experience has involved being on the telephone, so I feel I'm a pretty good candidate," she said.

She also said she's learned it's hard for older people to get a job, despite experience. But in this case, she hopes her age gives her an edge.

"Young people don't hardly do telephone, how they do all the texting. But I like to talk on the telephone, so I'd just be happy if they chose me," Harwell said.

The Embassy Suites near Hamilton Place is set to open in June. Mezick said he hopes to make many hires from Monday's job fair, but he said he'll hold another fair in the future if necessary. If that happens, Channel 3 will let you know.