The current job market slump called for Career Connections Job Fair presenters to get creative by encouraging job seekers to do the same.
While the pickings for actual employment opportunities offered at the March 16 job fair were slim, the message, especially from service agencies, was clear: looking for a job is a full time job – so develop a strategy and use it.
Until job hunters land a position, presenters offered options for ongoing trainings and professional development resources focused on work skills, soft (people) skills, and self-improvement. Virtually every employer at the job fair had a website listing current job openings and descriptions as well as online or downloadable applications. There were also three well-attended on-site workshops about: resume writing, Praxis Associates’ Digital 395 Project, and the intricacies of completing the AVUE Federal Job Application.
As soon as the Barlow Lane Gym doors opened at 10 a.m., job-seeking hopefuls flocked around the 15 job fair presenters’ tables. Eastern Sierra Employment Collaborators Group sponsored the event. The group, Inyo-Mono Advocates for Community Action, County of Inyo, California Indian Manpower Consortium, Bishop Paiute Tribe, Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance and Owens Valley Career Development Center, also presented job opportunities and/or training programs. These sponsors collaborated, covered costs and donated personnel, materials and raffle prizes.
Kathy Anderson, job fair organizer and job placement coordinator for the OVCDC’s Career Education Program, said that the job fair’s intent was to “make connections between job-seekers and employers” so that job-seekers can determine what skills and talents employers are looking for and how they can best fill those needs. OVCDC is located at 2574 Diaz Ln., Bishop and can be reached at (760) 873-6547.
BISHOP PAIUTE TRIBAL OFFICE
Paula Chandler, Human Resources generalist for the Bishop Paiute Tribal Office, advertised current job openings. Chandler can be reached at the Bishop Paiute Tribal Office, 50 Tu Su Ln., Bishop (760) 873-3584 ext. 257. Job descriptions and applications can be accessed online at bishoppaiutetribe.com/employment. All full-time employees receive an extensive benefits package, including medical, dental, vision, and life insurance, paid leave, and retirement.
• PW Transportation Planner/Construction Manager (New Posting)
• PW Works Transportation Administrative Assistant (New Posting)
• Tribal Police Officer (New Posting)
• Assistant Tribal Administrator
• Administration Executive Secretary
• BPDC Economic Development Director
• Fiscal Accounting Clerk III
• Community Development Project Manager
• Head Start Director
Meryl Picard, ROSS service coordinator for the Bishop Paiute Tribal Office Community Development Department, said, “We help people become self-sufficient, go back to school, get life skills, classes, get a job, get a better job. We help the community get scholarships for school kids so they can help break the cycle.”
COUNTY OF INYO
Kelly Reade, County of Inyo personnel analyst, said, “We just want people to know we’re out there, looking for qualified persons.” There is career track info that describes job requirements and benefits. Entry level positions are available in the offices of the agricultural commissioner, assessor, child support, clerk-recorder, county counsel, district attorney, environmental health services, health and human services, parks and recreation, planning, information services, probation, publish works, sheriff and water departments.
Call (760) 878-0407 for an recording of current job openings. The county’s website, www.inyocounty.us , is updated weekly for complete descriptions of the many current job openings, for example:
• Program Services Assistant, part time
• Account Clerk, Account Technician
• Office Assistant, Administrative Secretary, Executive Secretary
• Legal Secretary, Courtroom/Legal Process Clerk
• Administrative Analyst, Personnel Analyst
• Entry level positions within various departments
SOUTHERN INYO HEALTHCARE DISTRICT
Southern Inyo Healthcare District’s human resources manager, Sanford Nabahe presented three openings at the Lone Pine Rural Health Clinic. Go to www.SIHD.org  for a job description and to submit an online application.
• Physical Therapist
• Registered Dietician
• Dietary Aide
Nabahe’s direct line at SIHD, 501 E. Locust St., is (760) 876-2205.
PAIUTE PALACE CASINO
Dorothy Collado, Paiute Palace Casino human resources manager, said, “Since our renovation there are some new job openings in the new lounge, which will serve beer and wine.” Staff must be selected and intensively trained to handle the special demands of dealing with the public in a venue that serves alcoholic beverages. Current openings are:
• Lounge Security Officer
• Cocktail Server
• Bar Back
• Bar Supervisor
• Security Clerk
• Restaurant Server
• Players Club Clerk
Pat West, administrator at Pioneer Home Health Care, said she is passionate about attracting young people to the home health care profession, especially since so many of the current health care givers are baby boomers. “The current work force is aging. We’ve been giving care and we’ll be needing it.”
Pioneer Home Health Care currently has opening for:
• Speech Therapists
• Registered Nurse
• Personnel Caregivers (CNA certification is preferred but not required)
Raschelle Dunlap, assistant manager, and Alicia Camos, human resources manager represented KMART. Dunlap said, “We are looking for people who want to work, have a great smile, and want to work hard. The new store manager, Brad Baliant, is making big changes in response to Kmart’s negative public perception, they explained. “He is really big on customer service” and is looking for people of all ages who are really enthusiastic.
Pat Howard, Caltrans regional administrative officer, had good news, especially for trained job-seekers and those willing to relocate. Job postings and applications are online at www.dot.ca.gov/hq/jobs/vacancy . Howard and district personnel officer Marsha Milovich can be contacted at Caltrans, 500 S. Main St., Bishop, (760) 872-0791. Statewide, Caltrans has many job openings, especially for:
• Snow Removal Equipment Operators (class A license required)
• Other Equipment Operators
• Maintenance Workers
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power currently has some experienced skilled positions available but nothing for entry-level personnel, reported Dan Raftevold, administrative services manager for the aqueduct section. He admitted that things are slow right now but said that LADWP will try to hire locals when positions become available in the area. In the meantime, Raftevold directed job-seekers to visit the LADWP’s website at LACity.org where they can “apply for an in-person exam. They (exams) are given in the Owens Valley.” Passing the exam places the job-seeker on the list of applicants from which the Los Angeles City personnel department hires. The website is updated every Friday.
Praxis Associates is putting in 583 miles of underground fiber optics to bring “lightening fast Internet” to Owens Valley communities, said Communications Director Elizabeth Glazner, and although “we don’t have a lot of jobs (available), the jobs are very good.” Job listings are online at digital395.com. Glazner can be reached at the local Digital 395 Project office, 873 N. Main St., Suite 223, Bishop, (888) 803-7088. To contact Gwen James, Tribal Outreach Coordinator, call (775) 851-8202. Glazner also provided contact information of several Bishop/Mammoth area Digital 395 Project contractors: Westech Industries’ Wayne McCurley, (290) 744-8488, and Robinson Brothers Construction, Mike Rakoz, (360) 576-5359 ext. 227.
OVCDC has job openings, as well. Staff Development Specialist Sam Steadman said, “We want to make people aware of the kinds of positions we have open. Keep watching our website (www.OVCDC.com ) to apply online.” It is updated daily as jobs become available.
For people who can’t find a job, several home-based business companies offered opportunities to people with the entrepreneurial spirit. Linda Dosch, scrapbooking consultant for Creative Memories, called the home-based business a unique way to earn income through sales, hosting parties and consulting. Scrapbooking is more than a fun hobby, Dosch explained. Family memories are important, she added, and “according to studies, children with access to family albums have a better sense of self.”
Avon sales representative Becky Hurdle asked, “Where else can you start a business for $10?” Colleague Kathy Turner pointed out the advantages of joining the 125-year-old home-based sales company, which was named after its founder’s favorite place, Shakespeare’s home, Stratford on Avon: Like all entrepreneurs, Avon representatives are their own boss, and set their own hours and financial goals while selling a wide range of products.
In addition to job opportunities, a plethora of training and professional development venues were offered at the job fair along with practical job-hunting strategies. California Indian Manpower Consortium workforce coordinator Darcia Lent explained that because the job market is so competitive right now, job-seekers must look for “hidden job markets.”
Use the ABC strategy, she advised, by taking “Any job to a Better job that leads to your Career job.” Lent went on to say, “Dial down your expectations. Get your foot in the door (first) because a lot goes on internally and you will be there to know about openings.”
Register with all temporary agencies so ”you’re there and employers can audition you” on the job, she continued. According to its brochure, CIMC offers “vocational assessment and training, employment referrals, and other activities that benefit the social welfare, educational and economic advancement of” tribal members at 1343 Rocking W Dr., Bishop (760) 873-3419, www.cimcinc.org .
OVCDC Director of Career Education Programs Gina Jones reported that the agency has collaborated with Cerro Coso College to offer an eight-course business office technology cohort program that will give Microsoft 2010, Access 2010 and Word 2010 training and so on. Graduates will receive a certificate that tells employers they are “ready for the front office positions,” said Jones.
John Louth, U.S. Forest Service Bristlecone Forest manager, and his staff were present as part of a Forest Service/ Bureau of Land Management interagency effort to show job-seekers how they can apply for jobs locally and otherwise, to recruit young people for outdoor jobs nationwide so they can start a career with Forest Service or BLM. Local Forest Service summer hires include additional fire fighters, back-country trail crews and visitor information personnel.
Louth stressed, “There’s a process other than just submitting an application and hoping for the best,” which includes knowing “what you’re interesting in specifically.” Then you have to do “the homework,” he continued, finding out what jobs are available, making contact directly with the site at which the job-seeker wishes to work.
Summer Linton, office assistant at the Bishop Paiute Tribe TERO office, noted, “Hardly anyone knows about TERO, located at 50 Tu Su Ln. We do a lot of trainings throughout the year” for job skills, CPR and so on. Linton and Administrative Assistant Wasuyaa “Susie” West pointed out flyers announcing offering classes that provide skills in electrical, beginner carpentry and rough framing and stucco, for example. TERO’s services are open to the general public. Contact West at (760) 873-7893 for more information.
The Tuniwa Nobi Family Literary Program was represented by Marti Hunter, adult education instructor. She encouraged job-seekers to take advantage of down time to increase their marketability by looking into Tuniwa Nobi’s third session of the National Work Readiness Credential program in Lone Pine, a five-week course called National Work Readiness Credential Program which will let “employers know (graduates) are job ready with” math, reading, critical-thinking, work and soft skills, a term that refers to the wide range of necessary people skills.
“Everyone who has gone through the program has earned their credential,” said Hunter. There will also be a GED boot camp in April. “Enroll in the Native curriculum-included GED program because the test is going to change in 2014.”
IMACA Human Resources Administrative Services Manager Jill Paydon, one of the job fair organizers, touted the benefits of Eastern Sierra Youth Conservation Corps. “Entering its seventh year, the ESYCC connects local 16- to 18-year-olds with conservation projects and other outdoor work to benefit Eastern Sierra communities,” the program flyer states.
Paydon said students will learn teamwork job skills to make “positive contributions to the community.” Young people need skills earlier today, because jobs traditionally held by young people, such as in the fast food industry, are now being taken over by the older generation displaced workers. Paydon said ESYCC’s objective is to give young people the opportunity to learn work and leadership skills, develop their work ethic and a sense of community responsibility, as well as the self-esteem necessary to enter and succeed in the work force. She urges anyone who wants to support ESYCC to call her so “we can expand the program.” Paydon can be reached at IMACA, 24 S. Main, Bishop, (760) 873-8778.
At the end of the day, “we had a very good turn out, especially the interest in Praxis,” said Paydon. “The Forest Service presentation for AVUE helped give a basic introduction to the (federal job application) process and get contact info for futures help with applications.” Paydon also expressed appreciation to Christa Padilla, Big Pine High School career guidance counselor.
Padilla said she hoped her 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders learned to “sharpen get networking skills, learn about possible future jobs opportunities and career pathways.” Anyone interested in presenting their employment needs, services and opportunities at next year’s event should contact the Eastern Sierra Employment Collaborators Group at (760) 873-8778.