Avenal solar company ready to fill hundreds of positions

FRESNO, California

Over 150 people packed into the Workforce Connection office in Coalinga on Thursday to apply for jobs with a company planning to build a large solar farm in Avenal.

Laborers and construction workers are immediately needed to get the project going. Jarred Landis of Fresno came to find electrical work. Landis said, "They said most of the people here today are going to get a job so I'm looking forward to it."

The company expects to hire a large number of people from this recruitment fair. "Probably about 200-300. As the solar plant continues they'll add different positions," according to Workforce Connection Business Project Specialist April Townsend.

Many of those who applied for work say they can't recall the last time a company looked to fill so many jobs in the area. Carlos Celis explained, "I've lived in Avenal for 30 years. All my life. And there's no jobs. I have to travel to Kerman or Coalinga or Hanford."

Officials in Coalinga see the recruitment process as a spark to get the region headed in the right direction.

Workforce Connection Program Coordinator Robert Pimentel said, "It's extremely helpful to western Fresno County. We have an unemployment rate of over 20-percent so we're trying to do as much as we can with employers coming our way."

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