Later this month Sitka is holding its first job fair in about ten years, and the outlook is good for anyone looking for a job — as long as they’re not particular.
Fran Schwuchow runs the Sitka Job Center for the Alaska Department of Labor. She told the Sitka Chamber of Commerce this week that it’s a buyer’s market for job seekers in town.
“As of this morning there were 124 jobs posted, 44 of those openings are at SEARHC. The jobs vary, from zero experience to, of course, doctors, nurses, CNAs. I have gotten some seasonal jobs in. I’ve got retail sales, janitorial, housekeeping, kitchen work, office work. I’ve got something for everybody, as long as you’re not picky. That’s my line: There is a job for everybody, if you’re not picky.”
Schwuchow hopes that at least 20 businesses register for a table at the Sitka Job Fair, scheduled for Wednesday, March 25 at Harrigan Centennial Hall. Even for employers not immediately hiring, she says it’s a good chance to connect with the labor market for future hires — such as replacing workers who might be retiring.
Schwuchow is a bit of a trend-spotter in the labor market. One thing she’s noticed recently is that one of Sitka’s go-to jobs in summertime is not as popular as it used to be.
“What I’ve run into in the last few years is, I don’t get many fishing jobs, I get boat captains calling me and begging me for deckhands. This has been in the last four years. And that’s not ever been an issue that I have run into.”
Sitka’s Job Center is one of 15 statewide, and three in Southeast. In addition to job listings, Schwuchow offers an array of services, from resume and cover letter assistance, to help applying for tax credits for employers who hire veterans.
But she’s not dialed in to everything. One of the biggest employment opportunities in Sitka on the horizon is the construction of a new SEARHC Medical Center campus.
No listings have come in for that project yet, and Schwuchow doesn’t expect that any will.
“When you talk to a lot of the people in the construction business, they know each other, and they talk. That’s how you get your next job: You work with this person, who recommends you to this next company. That’s the best I can understand any of it. So I send out people all the time — these are the jobs I know about, here’s where they are, go to the foreman and see what’s open. It works for most people.”
The Sitka Job Center is located in the City-State building across from the Sitka Firehall. Schwuchow (shew-hoe) says anyone looking for work is willing to come in and use her office’s computers for research, or to send emails.
The deadline for employers to register for the March 25 Job Fair is this Friday, March 13.