Governor approves grant to help with high speed rail employment

Although the unemployment rate in Fresno County has gone down it continues to be twice that of the national average.
January 25, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Although the unemployment rate in Fresno County has gone down it continues to be twice that of the national average. The high unemployment rate continues to be a concern across the state and in the Valley.

"While the job market is showing signs of recovery, out of work people continue to struggle to find work in what still appears to be an employer's market," labor market consultant Steven Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez said labor officials continue to see people without skill sets having a difficult time getting their foot in the door.

"At this point in time any job we can get in one of the sectors is definitely an improvement and help the local economy here in Fresno," Gutierrez said.

The creation of high speed rail across California, including in Fresno could create jobs. Right now there is an effort to get Valley residents trained, so they can work on the high speed rail.

"A window of opportunity, as construction begins on the high speed rail project to make sure local workers have a chance to fill those slots," said Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board Executive Dir. Blake Konczal.

Konczal said the group has been awarded a grant from the governor to train people in a free pre-apprentice program.

"If you're unemployed, physically fit, like to work outside, drug free and very timely - construction jobs start at a certain time and they move - if they meet those qualifications you are a fit," Konczal said.

Workforce officials are urging people to go online to their web site to see if they qualify. Training will begin as early as spring and will continue for the next two years.

"If our local workers aren't ready, then workers will be imported from out of area to take the jobs," Konczal said.

Konczal said the well-paying jobs could last a few years and after that employees will come out with more skills and connections to better their futures.


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