Job fair in Sanger brings nearly 600 applicants

FRESNO, Calif.

Tracy Kuntz said, "I've been unemployed for almost a year and a half."

Reporter asked, "How tough has it been looking for a job?"

Ku Lee said, "It's pretty hard, economy is rough, and I'm trying to get whatever I can right now."

Ku Lee has been out of work for about a year. During that time, he's applied for nearly a dozen jobs in a variety of fields.

"I want it bad," said Ku Lee. "We'll see how it goes."

Initiative Foods is a processing plant, specializing in baby food production. The company is expanding its product line.

President, John Ypma says, by next week, he hopes to fill both skilled and unskilled positions, with pay ranging from minimum wage to a supervisor's salary.

John Ypma, President of Initiative Foods said, "We're sorta the small company hiring people, so it's what they talk about that's driving the economy. It's truly the small companies who are driving the economy."

While Initiative Foods only has forty jobs available right now, city officials say that's a great start. Over the past six months, they've been implementing new programs in hopes of putting people here back to work.

Brian Haddix, Sanger's city manager said, "We have aggressively looked for opportunities to bring more business here and bring back more construction as long as individuals look to hiring locals and that's what Initiative Foods is doing."

Sanger officials say reducing or in some cases, eliminating impact fees has drawn interest from companies wanting to expand in Sanger.

Right now, Sanger's unemployment rate is at 26-percent. Fresno County's rate is 16-point-seven percent. And while those numbers are high, some people say, with desperation, comes hope.

Kelly Her said, "It's been pretty difficult with the economy, so hopefully I can get something here."

Reporter asked, "Are you optimistic?"

Kelly Her replied, "Yes I am."

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