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Southern California Voices / A FORUM FOR COMMUNITY

Platform : Are There Jobs Americans Won't Take?

September 13, 1993| Compiled for The Times by Jim Blair

RALPH SNOW, President, Riverside/San Bernardino Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO.


Yes, I believe there are still jobs that Americans won't take. I think that's based on old expectations; but that is quickly being changed, especially because of the state of our economy. (When) younger workers enter the job market today, they are working on unrealistic expectations. And our older workers who are losing their jobs, jobs that are moving out of the country, are being faced (with a) downgrade in wages and benefits (in) lesser jobs. We're at a transition point. Jobs (workers previously would not consider) are becoming more of the majority jobs. Workers will have to lower their expectations to get any type of job.


Corporate outreach liaison/career

counselor, Cal State Dominguez Hills


Our (younger) students for the most part have been comfortable selecting careers based on the amount of money they think (they) will make. (But) companies are closing (or) downsizing; (and) we're seeing more students feeling totally lost. We're having to help students (determine) what it is they're really interested in, how (they're) going to be more competitive in the job market and recognizing where the economy is right now.

We have seen more students saying "I need to get a job. I need to do something." And the other thing they're doing is leaving Los Angeles, asking, "What can I do to get another job somewhere else?"


Employment development assistant,

Private Industry Council, Santa Ana


We've been having to counsel our kids (in) the Hire A Youth program (ages 16 to 21) that when they go out for job interviews (they have) to sell themselves more. They're a bit discouraged. Over the past couple of years they've had to compete with people their parents' age for the same job that several years ago was definitely a youth job. Now, I don't see a lot of jobs designated as a youth job or an adult job.

People who have been laid off and are exhausting their benefits are taking anything so they can make ends meet. But we have been seeing an increase in job orders here in Santa Ana due, in part, to the enterprise zone designation we've received from the state. That's been a great help. Our job placements have become a little easier lately.


Office manager, American Workforce Inc., Panorama City


Yes and no. We're a temporary industrial labor company. We deal with machinists, landscape contractors, construction contractors. As a rule of thumb, (people) know what they're coming in here (for) and what they're getting themselves into. They know that all we're going to do is put a little money in their pockets until they get themselves something better on their own. Now I've got guys coming in here from the aerospace industry that definitely are looking to make $18 to $25 an hour and are shocked when they hear they're only going to be making $4.25 to $5--maybe $6, $8 tops. And then I've got other guys from the same industry coming in (saying), "Hey, I don't care. I'll take anything. I need the work."

I see professionals. I've got guys that have no business being in here, insurance brokers, paramedics, guys that were running warehouses for Lockheed; but the way the economy is and the way the companies are laying people off--they've got no choice.

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