Job ops in valley shops

FRESNO, Calif.

Kohl's is promising to fill 400 jobs. Kohl's is opening stores in Hanford, Porterville and in Clovis. Each city hosted a job fair Sunday.

People started lining up outside this Hilton before 8 a.m. When a line this long wraps half way around a building and everyone is vying for a job, the prospects can be daunting.

"It's ridiculous. I should have come earlier," Fresno's Rita Lee said.

Joyce McDonald from Sanger said, "Scary. Honestly. This is a lot of people."

Sunday morning more than 150 people lined up outside this Clovis hotel for a crack at one of 400 positions Kohl's department stores is offering.

Many hope previous experience translates to a job. "From housekeeping to mid level to supervisor. You know. I've done it all," said Donna Ayala from Fresno.

"I've done retail before but what I was doing before was I used to deal cards at a casino," Lee said.

The unemployment rate in June hovered around 16% in the Central Valley. Some feel the odds are stacked against them.

"I've always been employed and always been employable. Right now I think there's a lot of age discrimination going on even though it's not being told," Fresno's Michael Thompson said.

Kohl's has emerged over the last year as a serious retail contender especially in the wake of other department store closures here in the Valley like Gottschalks and Mervyn's.

Hopeful applicants said competitive wages and health care benefits are attractive. McDonald said basically everybody depends on her; kids and husband.

"I got a family I have to look out for. I mean I lost my job about a year ago and I still can't find a job," Lee said. And Antonia Reyes from Clovis said, "I hope I get this position. I hope. I mean that's all you can really do at the end of the day is hope."

The stores are supposed to open at the end of September.

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