Tri-Valley Career Center Offers Free Employer Services

As 2019 nears its end, the Tri-Valley Career Center (TVCC) has a new name and is planning additional changes in the new year. Formerly known as the Tri-Valley One Stop Career Center, the TVCC introduced an improved job board last summer. Next year it will also launch an updated website and move to an office at Hacienda.

One misunderstanding some people have about the TVCC is that it helps job seekers only. In fact, the nonprofit is a publicly funded service, operated under the auspices of the Alameda County Workforce Development Board, that works to match all types of local employers and all types of potential employees. The organization offers a host of services, most of them at no charge, to Tri-Valley employers. Services can be tailored to companies' specific needs, including assistance in growing their business. Moreover, the TVCC may be able to offer reimbursement for on-the-job training costs.

Employer Resources

Tri-Valley employers are encouraged to register with the TVCC to use its new job board to post job opportunities free of charge. AppleOne, a Hacienda company, is one of the businesses currently posting job openings on the TVCC job board. The job board is just one of many useful services for hiring managers.

Hiring events at the TVCC and offsite are another important component of how the organization aids employers. Larger events are held twice a year; smaller Coffee Break meetings are held at the TVCC office roughly twice a month. Each hiring Coffee Break features three to four local employers, with 20 to 25 people at each event. Coffee Breaks "are smaller, less harried, and more relaxed as a hiring event, which gives employers more time to chat with job seekers," says Holtzclaw.

The TVCC can also host a hiring event for a single company. In those cases, the TVCC asks the company to do some promotion and makes recommendations for good ways to promote the event. But there is no cost for the help provided by the TVCC in hosting and helping employers set up the event.

Recruitment assistance is one of the major services the TVCC offers employers and it goes beyond hiring events, according to Program Manager Sarah Holtzclaw. "We can help them write job announcements and job descriptions," says Holtzclaw. "We have also put together guidance sheets for employers." The TVCC guidance sheets include advice on writing job descriptions, a comparison of local minimum wages, and tips to help companies improve their recruiting efforts by accessing relevant labor statistics and information.

One TVCC guide, for example, suggests using data from the Labor Market Information Division of California's Employment Development Department with job opportunities listed on California's job board, CalJOBS, to strategize hiring and training plans. Another offers an introduction to the federal Department of Labor's Occupational Information Network known as O*NET. O*NET is designed to be the nation's most comprehensive resource of occupational information. Its database includes nearly 300 descriptors about each occupation and can be used to quickly and easily develop effective job descriptions, align organizational development with workplace needs, refine recruitment and training goals, and much more, according to the TVCC.

In addition to its Labor Market Information guide, the TVCC can often work with employers directly to help them meet their hiring needs. This may include providing labor market information about current salaries offered by other companies in the same industry. The organization can also counsel companies on the salary ranges being offered by other companies in the region as a way to let Tri-Valley employers understand the competition for talent regionally as well as within an industry.

Recruitment Pitfalls

Many employers choose not to list a base salary or salary range in posted job openings but instead note that a position's salary is based upon a job candidate's experience. Based on the TVCC's research, job opportunities that list a salary attract 71% more interest from job seekers than those without a salary. Holtzclaw says that job seekers first look for a listed salary, then for a position's title, and only then look at the job responsibilities listed. As a result, including a salary is an effective way to ensure that job candidates actually read a company's job listings.

Commute options can also help or hinder employers when they are hiring. Tri-Valley employers may find it helpful to consider adding new or additional commute benefits to make their jobs more appealing. When it comes to recruiting new employees, companies located at Hacienda often have an advantage here compared to other Tri-Valley employers as it is easy for employees and visitors to travel to Hacienda because of the onsite BART station and award-winning package of commute options.

"There are more job openings than there are people looking for work," says Holtzclaw. "Our problem in the Tri-Valley is that most of the job openings do not match the skills of the people who are looking for work." Many local job openings are for entry-level or lower skilled support positions, while the residents of the Tri-Valley tend to be highly educated, skilled workers looking for middle management and higher positions in white-collar professions.

Another way employers can improve their recruitment efforts is by giving up the idea of finding the perfect hire in favor of finding a good one. One employer working with the TVCC, for example, is hiring for entry-level warehouse jobs by looking for candidates with five years of warehouse experience. "But someone with five years of warehouse experience is not looking for jobs that are more entry-level," says Holtzclaw.

Too often employers have a long wish list of must-haves in their job descriptions. Sometimes manufacturing employers, for example, require a white-collar education when hiring for blue-collar jobs, notes Holtzclaw. TVCC recommends that employers compare their list of job requirements to the real-world skills and qualifications of other employees in comparable positions and cut the list to the essential requirements of the job.

For jobs that are not highly skilled, employers that have problems filling those jobs "need to be more competitive in their wage and benefits and they need to be creative in their benefits," says Holtzclaw. "If they can't give health benefits, then they need to give other benefits like transportation stipends or things that will help them be competitive with other employers." For employers having difficulty filling more skilled positions, Holtzclaw recommends they look for candidates with transferable skills who are looking to move from one industry to another as well as people who may have gaps in their resumes because they have been out of the workforce. "Somebody who is in their forties has soft skills and leadership skills that somebody in their twenties does not necessarily have," she says. "There are certain skills that somebody learns through their career that can be transferred from job to job."

Many job-specific skills can be learned on the job, and the TVCC may be able to help local employers in those cases. The TVCC may be able to help cover the cost of on-the-job training by reimbursing employers for half of an employee's wages for up to 520 hours of training. The organization can also help connect employers to resources for helping train existing employees as well. In 2020 the TVCC will be moving into new facilities within Hacienda at the John Muir Center, 5860 Owens Drive. The organization invites Hacienda companies to contact its staff for more information by phone or in person. "We will come to you," says Holtzclaw. "We would be delighted to discuss the services available to all employers-small, medium, and large."

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