Santa Barbara- S County

Alaskan Firm Recruiting Local Workers for Salmon Season

National recruitment drive targets high unemployment areas.

Alaskan Firm Recruiting Local Workers for Salmon Season

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - A resurgence in commercial and residential construction is helping breathe new life in the Central Coast job market.

Onshore energy production, healthcare and agriculture are also top job creators.

The unemployment rate is hovering around the national average of 6.7% and the statewide rate of 8%.

In San Luis Obispo County the unemployment rate is 6.2% and in Santa Barbara County its 7.2%

"We are recruiting for seafood processors to work for our summer salmon season in Alaska", says Kara Silsbee of Icicle Seafoods Inc.

Silsbee is part of a nationwide recruitment drive by Icicle Seafoods Inc. to hire 1,200 people to come up and work in Alaskan fish cannery and processing plants during the upcoming salmon and herring season.

The starting pay is $7.75 an hour or minimum wage in Alaska.

"Its 16 hours a day, seven days a week during peak production", Silsbee says, "there is a lot of overtime and in Alaska we pay overtime after 8 hours in a day."

The company provides housing and daily meals and a flight from Seattle to and from Alaska before and after the fishing season is over.

"I got my stepson's baseball, basketball and all that and I want to kind of stay here but right now I got to take this job", says Lloyd who was among dozens of people who met with Silsbee at the Workforce Resource Center in Santa Maria, "I'll probably be gone three months, 3 to 5 months."

Lloyd, who lost his job as an oil field worker in Paso Robles, says being out of work for an extended period of time has taken a toll.

"Especially when you got family, relying on you", Lloyd says, "I'm always up at the crack of dawn, last one to go to bed, and it does kind of take something away from you know, kind of like your self pride, you want to provide, and when you can't provide, it kind of messes with you a little bit."

Tourism and service-related industries also remain big job creators on the Central Coast.



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