El Super Creates New Jobs in Santa Ana

April 28, 2011

El Super Creates New Jobs in Santa Ana

El Super Success
April 28, 2011

When Hispanic supermarket El Super needed workers for its new store in Santa Ana,   the City of Santa Ana’s WORK Center organized a job fair.

Center staff planned and organized a two-day event that attracted more than 600 job seekers.  The store ended up hiring 86 workers for the new store that will open at the end of April at the intersection of Warner and Bristol. Most of the newly hired were unemployed.

“Job recruitment is just one small part of what the WORK Center does,” said Carlos de la Riva, WORK Center Manager.  “Along with resume and computer workshops, job search and placement assistance, the WORK Center helps workers retrain for new jobs.”

Over the last 30 years, the WORK Center job retraining program funded by Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds has made a difference in hundreds of lives.

But those work assistance programs are in jeopardy as the U.S. government looks at ways of balancing the budget. A House measure would cut more than $100 billion in spending, which includes eliminating WIA funding completely. At risk is approximately $4 million each year Santa Ana receives each year to give people the skills to find work and better paying jobs.

WIA programs are about more than just numbers.  Bringing people and jobs together is what the Santa Ana WORK center does best.

“Without WIA money I received through the Santa WORK Center I don’t know where I’d be,”  said Santa Ana resident Jeremiah  Johnson. “Maybe back in Omaha living with my parents.”

The Santa Ana WORK Center provided him the resources needed to take classes at the New Horizons Computer Learning Center in Anaheim. The six-month program prepared him to become a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist  and continue his career path to becoming a database administrator.

“The beauty of it was I didn’t have to worry about the money,” the 26-year-old said. “My only expense was the gas it took to get to class.”

The Santa Ana WORK Center also helped Jaime Ramirez  realize his dream of becoming a medical professional.

“I’ve always wanted to work in medicine but with the high cost of retraining there was no way I could do that,”  the   40-year-old explained.

Thanks to WIA funds provided through the City’s WORK Center Ramirez successfully completed an 11-month program to become a medical assistant/X-ray technician.

“If it was not for WORK Center I would not have been able to do that,” he said.

Part of his training included a more than 500 hours working in an internship, which helped hone the skills he learned in the classroom.

“You can’t buy that kind of experience,” he said.

Ramirez took a job working in medical office but is looking to get hired by a chain of new urgent care clinics that would double his hourly pay.