Valley Works: Covered California

FRESNO, Calif.

Covered California has tested over 2,000 people for the estimated 500 positions it plans to fill at its call center, which is set to open in October. But those are not the only jobs being created by the health care exchange.

Valley groups are sending out educators to inform people on how to get insurance under the health care reform. In California the program is called Covered California the program is described as an easy marketplace where people can shop for and buy health insurance. The whole process has left many people wondering how it will work. The state is hiring thousands of people to help inform people about the health care program.

"I think it's great, there aren't a lot of options for us here in Fresno so the fact that hundreds of jobs are coming is excellent, I hope to get one," call sales consultant Dana Quattrin said.

Quattrin was one of the 500 people who showed up for what was the fourth round of testing to qualify for positions at a Covered California call center.

"For me it's an opportunity to get a salaried position with benefits again and I'm excited about that," Quattrin said.

Fresno is just one of three cities where the state is setting up call centers, the largest, located in Rancho Cordova, is already open. Employees who have recently been hired are currently undergoing training.

"Right now the training is about five to six week comprehensive training class," said Katherine Minnich, Chief Human Resources for Covered California.

Minnich says the first group of hires in Fresno, approximately 150, will start training on October 7.

"As the call center ramps up we will hire more people," Minnich said.

The jobs being created by Covered California are not just at the call center

"We have quite a large task supporting Covered California," Minnich said.

Cynthia Bruno is director of the Health Benefit Exchange Program for Richard Heath and Associates. It is a program design management company that specializes in outreach, especially for low income communities.

"RHA plays a very instrumental support roll to Covered California in helping to orchestrate the outreach and education grant program as well as to establish the in-person assistance network for enrollment," Bruno said.

Locally RHA has hired 55 people and expect to hire another 45 and almost 100 statewide.

"It ranges the gamut from senior managers to admin support to call center reps that staff our technical help desk," Bruno said.

They are all good paying jobs with great benefits, the kind of positions many Fresno residents say are desperately needed.

"Everybody knows with state jobs it's a guarantee you're going to get benefits and it's a career not a job," job applicant Labrena James said.

RHA says the best way to apply for jobs at the company is to go to the company's website. The call center will be hiring in waves through-out the year and says it will continue testing to increase its pool of applicants.

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