Creating Jobs in Tulare County

February 6, 2009 6:08:07 PM PST
The jobless situation is much worse in the South Valley. Tulare County's unemployment rate stands at currently 14-point-3-percent.Sportsman's Warehouse behind me has only been open about three months but already they've had to make cutbacks. Local organizations are realizing more than ever now that they have to create more jobs here in Tulare County.

Eric Zavala has nearly 400 job applications from people wanting to work at the new Sportsman's Warehouse in North Visalia. But he won't be hiring anyone anytime soon.

Eric Zavala said, "We had to let go about 15 people, really good people and I hope it's not permanent."

Zavala hopes he can start hiring again when the weather gets warmer. Sportsman's Warehouse is a large, brand new store that has everything you need to camp, fish and hunt. Zavala has simple advice for people looking for a job now.

"Right now it's so easy to get on the internet and apply for a job it's very impersonal if you come down and hand down your application to a physical person you know you're going to get some kind of attention," said Zavala.

Helping unemployed Tulare County residents find work was the focus of Friday's Workforce Investment Board Summit. Organizations like Proteus, Turning Point and College of the Sequoias are looking for better strategies to help people during these trying times.

Adam Peck said, "To make sure we're all on the same page to understand the needs of people that are looking for work, the type of industries that are hiring and the type of skills people need to develop to be competitive in these industries."

The Workforce Investment Board says its "employment one-stop job center" on Chinowth and Noble in Visalia saw more than 100,000 people come through its doors in 2008, the most ever. Officials say many people aren't aware of the jobs available, how to take advantage of their work experience or improve their skills.

David Maciel said, "If they are either unemployed or underemployed that there's wages that need to be obtained that are livable wages and that requires a career path."

Officials at the summit also said the current federal stimulus bill has resources that could be available to Tulare County to start a summer youth jobs program. They're hopeful it will pass.

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