Job Growth Continues to Blossom
California’s employers added jobs for the fourth straight month in a row, with April’s addition of 14,200 bringing this year’s total to 56,400, according to preliminary estimates by the state Employment Development Dept. Further evidence of the sluggish labor market coming back to life was a federal survey of households, which found 76,000 more Californians working than in the previous month. That number includes people who have been hired on a temporary basis or are self-employed. Venture-capital funding for startups also showed an increase of 12 percent in the first quarter of this year. Despite the progress, the state is still lagging behind much of the nation in reversing damage caused by the Great Recession. The gains are but baby steps in CA’s long road to recovery, with 355,300 jobs lost in the last year alone and more than two million Californians still unemployed. The state’s unemployment rate remained at its record high of 12.6 percent.
60,000 Solar Jobs to Brighten Future
California could be home to 60,000 new solar-industry jobs by 2016, according to a study by the Solar Energy Industries Association. The industry is projected to create 200,000 solar-related jobs in the nation overall, with 10 gigawatts of new solar installations during that time frame – enough to power 2 million homes.
Free Job Training Programs
Military veterans recently separated from the armed services can receive free energy-sector job training this summer from Pacific Gas and Electric. The ‘Bridge to Utility Equipment Mechanic’ course is available to vets and others with at least four years journey-level mechanic experience. The course will cover service and repair of hybrid and electric vehicles, and will be held on Saturdays this summer at American River College, beginning in late June. Class size is limited to 25 and deadline to apply is June 1. Graduates of the summer-long program will become prequalified for job opportunities with PG&E and other utilities. Find more information online at pge.com/powerpathway.
Free nursing degrees are available at the Sutter Center for Health Professions, part of Sacramento City College’s extended campus, thanks to a $16.7-million grant from Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region. Since the program began in 2003, about 95 percent of the 361 graduates from the intensive, 16-month program now hold nursing positions in the region.
The Employment Development Dept announced over $4 million in stimulus funds for grants to train about 725 people for in-demand occupations. In Northern CA, the Elk Grove Unified School District and North Central Counties Consortium in Sutter County will receive nearly $1 million each to provide training in areas such as network administration, computer support, alternative fuel mechanics, paramedics, home health aides, pharmacy technology, medical coding and dental assisting. The projects will focus on training and job placement for low-income, unemployed, dislocated workers and under-skilled adults facing challenges in regaining employment.
On the Job Front
STATEWIDE – Marco’s Pizza, one of the 25 largest pizza chains in the US, plans to open 170 CA locations, including franchises in Fremont, San Jose, Santa Rosa, Stockton and Sacramento. Each restaurant employs up to 25 people.
CUPERTINO – A coalition of parents and teachers in the Cupertino Union School District raised $2 million in two months to preserve the jobs of more than 100 elementary and middle-school teachers, and keep K-8 class sizes smaller.
FREMONT – The NUMMI plant shut down by Toyota in April will soon return to life manufacturing electric cars in a new partnership between Tesla Motors and Toyota. The plant will initially employ about 1000, and will add about 50 workers per month, eventually growing to about 5000. Another 5000 jobs are expected to be created by the resulting supply chain.
OLIVEHURST – Local representatives met with the deputy postmaster general in Washington, DC, seeking alternatives to closing the local mail-sorting facility, which employs 130. But the Postal Service is continuing with plans to close the site and transfer all mail sorting to its West Sacramento facility by October. Employees will be offered transfers to other sites, but will likely have to relocate.
PALO ALTO – Jive Software, which specializes in social-business applications, is moving its headquarters here from Oregon, and plans to expand staffing from 50 to 200 in the next 18 months.
Hooky Players Risk Facebook Exposure
If you’re taking an ‘unofficial holiday’ from work, be careful what you say about it on your Facebook page. Facebook’s new OpenBook search does just that: It makes your posts an open book, allowing employers and anyone else to search for status updates – such as playing hooky, and any other information intended "for friends’ eyes only" – without even logging in to the site. With an increasing number of employers using Facebook and other social sites to monitor prospective and current employees, discretion is strongly advised to anyone searching for employment, or those posting anything that might put their current job in jeopardy.