Swelling regional unemployment rates have likely helped fuel demand at the center as job seekers have faced growing challenges in securing positions after extended periods without work, experts said.
Unemployment in Glendale is at 10.9%, up from 7.2% a year ago; and 10.2% in Burbank, up from 6.7% in 2008.
“When people are looking and not paying their bills, they get a little desperate, and I think that’s scary,” said Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn.
While much of the workforce may have been jobless for months, those potential workers have faced growing competition as companies have cut back on their hiring, Waldman said.
“No one wants to hire somebody that they’re going to train and bring in and have to let them go three months from now,” he said.
Stiffer competition for a lot of potential workers have meant they have had to reconsider their career goals and seek advice, which often results in them turning to resources like the job center, he said.
“I think there are a lot of people who are out of work who have been looking, and I think at a certain point when you exhaust all other means, you start to look for other alternatives,” he said.
The center has been so overwhelmed with demands that it has had to expand its staff by about 10%, Nakamoto said.
The 40-person staff will soon welcome about four tentative hires to help cope with the growing strain on the center, he said.
“It’s been difficult,” Nakamoto said of the added visitors.
Much of the additional demand at the center has not been simply for resume help, but for advice and training for radical career shifts, he said.
Many of the job seekers looking for help previously worked in mortgage finance, he said.
“They had pretty strong employment track records, pretty high pay levels, and unfortunately that area was so devastated that all the employment opportunities were just devastated pretty quickly,” he said.
Retail workers have also made up for a large portion of those seeking to reposition themselves as low consumer demand has brought in smaller profits for stores across the region, he said.
“We’re making some progress, but it’s a really difficult job market for anybody to try and have some positive results,” he said.
ZAIN SHAUK covers education, business and politics. He may be reached at (818) 637-3238 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.