Time to get or improve job status

If you are a federal government employee worried about the shutdown there are other jobs available.

It’s a workers’ market as the jobless rate in Snohomish County is 3.8 percent – the lowest rate in a dozen years – and many jobs are still unfilled. Things are getting so urgent that businesses such as Carepartners Senior Living had their first own daylong job fair at the Jennings Park Barn Wednesday. They were ready to immediately hire certified nursing assistants starting at $15 an hour. They also were looking for medical technicians and cooks with experience. Jeff Roberts of The Cottages at Marysville, one of five businesses represented, said one of the reasons for the shortage is many immigrants are afraid to work or change jobs because they are unsure in this political climate if they will be able to stay in the country.

He said many immigrants excel as CNA’s because in their “cultures they care so deeply” for the elderly. “It’s their direct ticket to heaven,” Roberts said.

Heidi Hutton of Mill Creek and Jessa Ballano of Mountlake Terrace said their facilities have different problems in hiring. Their problems focus more on the higher cost of living in those cities. “Lots of folks find better jobs,” with higher pay, Hutton said.

They decided to have their own job fair because others they have tried to get into fill up so fast. “It’s a crapshoot” on if it will be successful, Roberts admitted.

The trio said they are trying many things to find workers. While they haven’t tried recruiting in high schools yet they did say when students graduate from CNA classes they “snag them.” Some have opened up their doors to volunteers to give them an idea of what the job is like. Others have offered bonuses.

Hutton said it can be frustrating. They spend time helping employees get certifications that never expire, and they can say “bye the next day and get another job. They can take that (certification) and go anywhere.”

Anneliese Vance-Sherman, a regional labor economist, said for most of Puget Sound the immigration issue hasn’t been a problem.

“We’ve had a large influx of international workers,” said Vance-Sherman, who works in Snohomish County for the state Employment Security Department.

She added that a lot of people are finding better jobs, so in the past people who were “overlooked have a better shot at employment.”

Vance-Sherman said during the recession of 2008-2010, 22,000 people were without jobs statewide – an 11 percent jobless rate; now there are 4,500. She said in 2009, if you had a job, “You stuck with it,” whether you liked it or not. Now, there is a lot of turnover.

Vance-Sherman said businesses can’t be as picky when hiring now. They used to get inundated with applications.

“They didn’t want to weed through all of the apps” so they could require specific qualifications, she said. “Now they have to cast a wider net.”

Vance-Sherman said many businesses used to only accept applications online. The entries would go through computer algorithms that looked for key words. If an applicant didn’t use the key words, it would be tossed out. “Now they have to be more inclusive,” she said.

Vance-Sherman said there are more employment opportunities in almost every business sector. With the increase in the minimum wage there is even more competition for entry-level employees. Sam Samano, business solutions supervisor for WorkSource Snohomish County, said some businesses are so in need of workers they are paying bonuses.

Such is the case for truck drivers. “As soon as they graduate they scoop them up and hire them,” she said.

Others offer bonuses if an employee recommends someone for a job. “Their name is on the line” so the employers figures the candidate will be a good one, Samano said.

One program WorkSource is involved in is called Work Experience. With that one, candidates work for an employer up to 90 days to see if it’s a good fit. It’s good for businesses because the program pays the salary.

Samano said older workers retiring isn’t a reason for more job openings. Actually many are going back to work, except they are taking jobs that are not as physical.

She said businesses that get bad reviews online aren’t really affected by them.

“We meet with that business” and can let applicants know that the review might have been done by someone who was a “little grumpy” for being let go.

WorkSource works with employers to try to get them to be a little more patient with millennial hires. “They have to change their thinking,” Samano said of employers, adding millennials “see life more balanced.”

Training is important to millennials. WorkSource looks at all types of skills to look for the right fit.

“What’s their skill level? How long have they been unemployed? We match that to jobs we know are available,” Samano said.

In Arlington and Marysville, Samano mentioned that workers are needed at Seattle Premium Outlets, construction and manufacturing. In an employees’ market, businesses need to be flexible. “They might stay for six months and because of improved pay go someplace else,” Samano said.

Here’s your sign

It’s a sign of the times – “Help Wanted.” 

What was rare just a few years ago is now commonplace. “Now hiring” signs are being placed in front of businesses to try to draw job applicants.

If you want a job, you should be able to find one. And if you want a better job, you have a good chance of getting one.

A quick drive around Marysville recently showed signs up at Cabela’s, Zodiac Aerospace (now Safran), Furniture World and Super Hawks Canopy. Not long ago they were up at the post office, Marysville Care Center, Alfy’s Pizza and Jiffy Lube. Smaller signs are often placed at storefronts, such as at the Seattle Premium Outlet Mall, Walmart, many restaurants and barista stands.

Around Arlington, “Now Hiring” signs were mostly concentrated along main routes in the manufacturing-industrial center near the Arlington Airport and along 67th Avenue NE.

Washington Trucking Inc. is hiring CDL drivers, with training, benefits and assurances drivers will be home nightly. John H. Kooy Trucking Inc. is looking for drivers with a package that keeps them on the West Coast and home on weekends.

Pape Material Handling is hiring a shop forklift technician mechanic and a yard and utility worker. Continued growth in the aerospace industry has local manufacturers and supply chain companies still in the hunt for workers, evident by the sandwich boards used as a recruiting tool to promote openings. For example, ABW Manufacturing is taking applications for sand blasters, welders and fitters. AMT Senior Aerospace is in the market for machinists, drivers, assembly technicians, planners and engineers, CNC programmer and other positions. Steel-Fab Inc. near the airport needs fitter-welders.

And if you look online, which is what most people do nowadays, you can find all types of jobs available at places like the Tulalip Resort Casino, for example. On our own website a postal service job is listed at $51,000 a year with no experience necessary.

A sampling of other available jobs online includes: Puget Sound Doors in Arlington, $13 hour; homeless shelter aide in Tulalip, $16.64 an hour; and Fish and Wildlife officer, $28 an hour. Annual salaries advertised include: a receptionist in Arlington, $29,000; a lot attendant, $34,000; fisheries, $55,000; and a manager, $67,000. Top-paying jobs are with the city of Marysville, $7,200 a month; and the library system, $12,000 a month.

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