Let’s face it: While it’s been a few years since the recession began, it’s still hard to find a job.
People all over Long Beach are still looking for work, and options for young people with little experience can be extra slim pickin’s. However, there are a few things that every young person looking for a job in this city should know.
Jobs in Long Beach exist, and there are resources to connect you to them. VoiceWaves has put together a short, practical list of resources that might give you a leg up to those who are limited to exploring the realm of ‘Craigslist’ or gathering random applications at the mall.
Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network
“People who say, ‘I want a job, but there are none,’ are just distracted from looking,” said Antonae Alston, a 16-year-old resident of North Long Beach who has been waiting to be old enough to look for work. She gets help with applications and resume building at the Pacific Gateway Youth Opportunity Center.
Whether you’re exhausted from the job search or you have no idea where to begin, Pacific Gateway can probably help. This network of non-profits can help with everything from getting a ‘guard-card’ for security work, to landing an internship.
Eighteen-year old West Long Beach resident Jerry Doctolero was looking for work for almost eight months before the center helped him find a job.
“It was difficult to find a job because every job was looking for someone with experience,” said Doctolero, who isn’t alone in struggling with insufficient experience.
One of the most successful programs at the PG is, “Hire-a-Youth” at the Youth Opportunity Center. This program helps connect young adults, to jobs, internships, and training programs.
“We find employers who want to pay the youth as well as help them learn,” said Don Caldwell, the Business Assistance Program Manager for PG.
“We get great feedback from businesses about our interns and employees,” said General Manager Judy Chen-Lee. “They’re very punctual, and they get along well with their co-workers.”
This Summer, in addition to regular resources like the Hire-a-Youth program, PG is offering a National Work Readiness Credential program. The NWRC course is 25 hours of training in subjects from situational judgment, to basic math and resume building, and will give proactive participants a , “leg-up,” even on basic retail position like customer service.
However, even if you’re just looking for a basic part-time job, all of the administrative staff at PG agree that a positive attitude and the willingness to learn are still the key to successful employment.
Executive Director David Gonzales and his staff said that in-fact , “soft skills,” like a positive attitude, willingness to learn, and the ability to communicate are still the most important parts to employers they deal with.
Career Development Centers
School career centers are also an excellent option for students who are also looking for work. There’s only one glitch—you have to be a student.
Long Beach City College Career Development Center’s staff will help students with anything from resume stuff to transferring to universities or trade schools. Ruth Abair, the center’s coordinator, will literally drag and drop your resume files for you, but you still have to write them.
Abair grew up on Long Beach’s Westside, so it’s safe to say she knows how to maintain a hustle in the ‘562’. She has some helpful tips for young job seekers.
Staff at the center give the same advice as Pacific Gateway: willingness to learn and be positive at work are still the biggest part of getting a job and staying employed.
“Staying out of trouble and covering your tattoos at job interviews is important,” Abair said, “but there’s no reason why a positive attitude can’t get even a parolee a job– it’s just a little harder sometimes.”
Abair also said that going beyond the call of duty can be important, mentioning that she’s not paid to clean the chairs in the front office, but she does-so everyday.
Another organization helping connect youth to jobs in Long Beach is Centro CHA, also known as the Community Hispanic Association (although they help people of all ethnicities).
Centro CHA is also currently enrolling students in a National Work Readiness Credential (NWRC) program similar to the one offered at Pacific Gateway.
In addition to the credential, the organization also has training programs for various certificates that make finding living wage work possible.
Every summer it also employs several dozen youth through its Summer Night Lights program, a violence prevention strategy adopted by the city. As part of the program, lights are kept on at three of the most violent city parks after dark, allowing community members to play and learn in the park.
Jobs for young people in Long Beach exist, and there are people to help. The most important thing it seems, is to never stop trying, and to always have a positive attitude while continuing to build your skills and education.
“Looking for a job, should be a full-time job.” Judy Chen-Lee, General Manager at Pacific Gateway. For more information, go here.