Kelly Pierce said it is sometimes hard to see the number of unemployed residents come through the Colorado Workforce Center of Craig looking for work on a daily basis.
“It is tough because you want to be able to help everybody,” said Pierce, a labor and employment specialist with the center.
Pierce said most people looking for employment talk to at least 20 or 30 employers before getting a call back or being offered a job.
“We have had employers that tell us that for pretty much every job they post, they get at least 70 applications,” she said.
But, there was a little bit of hope for unemployed residents Tuesday in the center during the start of a job fair for positions with American Airlines at Yampa Valley Regional Airport.
“I think (residents) are excited that they are hiring again,” Pierce said.
Diane Schoeberl, regional human resources manager for the Texas-based G2 Secure Staff, said her company is looking to hire 10 to 12 people for seasonal employment at the airport.
The positions the company is looking to fill include ticket counter employees, ramp agents, baggage service and cabin cleaning service.
Schoeberl said the company will be interviewing interested applicants through Thursday at the Workforce Center, and will also host another job fair in Craig for three days starting Oct. 19.
The company may also host a similar job fair in Hayden, but Schoeberl was unsure of the details.
The company has a staff of about 40 employees at the airport to service flights from mid-December to early April, during the area’s ski season.
Tuesday was the first day the company hosted the job fair, which it has done in the area for the past four years.
Schoeberl said about 70 to 80 percent of the company’s workforce comes from Craig, where they do most of their recruiting.
“Steamboat (Springs) is just far enough away, and I think there are seasonal positions there on the mountain that are much closer and easier for them than making the drive to Hayden,” she said. “A small amount of our workforce is from Hayden, but it is just a much smaller town and there is less to draw from.”
Schoeberl said it is sometimes difficult to recruit for seasonal work.
“Because we are seasonal, it is always harder,” she said. “But, I think it … has been easier in the last several years based on a tough economy.”
It was too early in the company’s recruiting process, Schoeberl said, to tell if the case was the same for Craig.
But, based on similar job fairs in other locations, she said there are many people who are excited about the prospect of finding work.
Charles Anaya was one of those residents applying for a job with the airline at the center Tuesday.
Anaya, a 30-year-old Hayden resident, has been working for the airport as a ticket agent for about seven years during the winter months, he said.
In the off-season, he pays the bills by working at Yampa Valley Golf Course and a local hotel.
Anaya said he has a few out-of-work friends, some of whom are also getting by on seasonal work.
Although he was encouraged by the prospect of being rehired at the airport, he said he knows the economy has been tough on many residents, leaving them unemployed and looking for work.
“It’s the economy … it is so bad now,” said Anaya. “Businesses are just closing down.”
Anaya said he sometimes worries about what would happen if he weren’t able to pick up a job in the winter.
“But, as long as I do what I am supposed to do, I think I’ll be alright,” he said.
As he left the Workforce Center, Anaya said the job fair was a needed service in the area, considering the tough economic conditions.
“We’re just thrilled to be here,” she said. “We have found it to be a very friendly and welcoming area of the country. We find good, hard-working employees here, and (we) are really happy to be a part of it.”
Many of the employees the company hires in the area have become long term employees, Schoeberl said.
“I think the hard-working, middle-America work ethic, that basic work ethic is here,” she said.
Schoeberl said the company was hosting the second job fair in mid-October to give as many people as possible the opportunity to apply.
“It is really about being a good employer and a good part of the community wherever we are,” she said.
But, the company is hoping for a boost in the number of applicants for the positions, Schoeberl said.
“We won’t know until we get through basically both events to know whether it is impacted by the economy or whether people have left the area for other work or they have found full-time work,” she said.