As part of our ABC7 Solutions: SoCal Jobs initiative, we spoke to Phil Cochran, chairman of the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board, via Skype to discuss the topic.
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How has unemployment, and job furloughing, affected San Bernardino County the most?
"We've already seen, the old numbers that we had from March - 10,000 people already filed for unemployment, we're expecting April, you know, to quadruple those numbers and goes significantly higher. But you know keeping in mind during the great recession our county lost about 80,000 jobs, but what we see the hardest this go-around is our hospitality, our tourism, our retail, our entertainment - they've taken the real, the real brunt of it," said Cochran.
"We started serving, a couple weeks ago, our businesses pretty much right out of the gate in March to find out where they're at. We have a whole business resource team on the ground and we found out about 25% of the folks were planning on doing layoffs, another 30% were in kind of a 'maybe' situation and the rest were pretty hopeful. But keep in mind San Bernardino County, we watch our supply team pretty heavily because we are definitely the go-between between the ports and the rest of the country, and everything else through San Bernardino County. For instance, Ontario airport has already seen a 22% increase in their cargo. You're going to see people shifting jobs," said Cochran.
What kind of assistance are you able to offer to people who find themselves suddenly out of work?
"Well, we've been doing this for a very, very long time. And so, we not only have a website, but we have our centers within the county: one in Ontario, one in San Bernardino, one in the high desert. We see some 90,000 people through those centers on a regular basis. So, our staff is pretty in tune with taking care of folks and meeting their needs. Whether it's finding a job, doing a skills assessment on them, finding maybe someone who's going to change career paths, update their resumes, prepare them for a job interview themselves and or maybe we'll find some training that they need to do that. So we have all those resources available to them and we do that every day all day long," said Cochran.
Do you have resources for small and big businesses that might have jobs to offer?
"We have some support services that we can develop locally right from our own staffing. We do webinars, how to manage employees remotely, which most of our companies have never done before, we have consultants that we can send in and help them access companies on how to get through this and what it's going to be like on the other side. Because what we're focusing on is recovery. If we can do a good job in the recovery, we can get people jobs. So we're good at that," said Phil Cochran.
For resources in San Bernardino: wp.sbcounty.gov/workforce
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