With construction at a near standstill in Riverside County, what if you are one of those thousands of unemployed construction workers? Most workers employed in the trades have had to travel to certain extent during a normal economy. This usually meant having to sit on the 91 freeway and trudge into Orange County, or brave the 60 and 10 freeways into LA County. However, the paradigm has definitely changed and the current crop of employed construction workers have had to accept projects in Texas, Hawaii, and Alaska. So if you want to remain in the construction industry, be prepared for extended stays far from home.
What if you have a family and kids and you don’t want to be away for extended periods of time or you just simply love Southern California? There is one industry that has shown some remarkable growth at a time when everything else is decrying Armageddon. That industry is the prepackaged, frozen and fresh food distribution industry. One of the unintended consequences of this recession (or depression) is that fewer people can afford to eat out. That lack of restaurant demand has placed an increase in demand at the grocery store because people are staying and eating at home. No the grocery stores have not necessarily seen a boom in construction, but the construction of refrigerated warehouses and production facilities has been booming for the past five years.
New players in the Riverside grocery business like Wal-Mart, Fresh and Easy, Trader Joes and Northgate Markets have all built substantial half million square foot plus facilities in or near Riverside County. The bad news is that the construction of these new mega-facilities may be nearing an end. The good news is that they have created thousands of new jobs. Jobs that are tailor made for people with construction skills.
These facilities need forklift operators, clerks, sorters, production people, computer and automation programmers and above all maintenance technicians. These jobs may not be as glamorous as building sky scrapers or giant housing complexes, but this is one sector of the economy showing growth, not layoffs. The entry level jobs in this industry pay better than minimum wage and the skill positions pay near what regular construction jobs used to pay.
So how do you get into this business? Well if you have the skills they are looking for you can apply directly. Look at the links below for the appropriate web sites or Google the names of the facilities listed above and apply in person. Of course there are no guarantees of employment but the odds there are better than anywhere else. One word of caution, these are 24 hour operations so most of the entry level positions are at night or on the weekends.
The food industry has traditionally been a forgotten option for skilled labor. The hours are long, sometimes the pay is less than traditional construction trades, plus there is no real joy of driving by a glass high rise you just finished building. The mantra of this industry however is “Thank God people still have to eat”! Not a glamorous industry, but when you are unemployed, glamour is the last thing on your mind.