HOLTVILLE - With the unemployment rate in Imperial Valley sitting at the top of the nation's list at 29 percent, it looks like solar energy could now be the answer for the county's financial situation. The county hosted a solar job fair earlier today to try to fill hundreds of jobs.
More than one thousand Imperial Valley residents came out to the solar job fair today. Nick Chavez was one of them. He's been unemployed for almost six months now. And like everyone else who filled out an application, Chavez is hoping he's the one who'll get hired.
Solar companies are looking to hire 300 people.
Nick says that not having a job and not being able to fully support his family, has been stressful.
"You worry about bills, clothes and stuff like that, little things, also big things", he says. "It's pretty tough out there".
The Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation sponsored today's job fair.
Positions available range from Forklift Operators to Electricians.
Like Chavez Jesus Amador Alvarado is also competing to get a job.
"It's been really hard. I haven't worked in 2 and a half years", he says. "I really want to find a job already. Times are bad and it's gets worse everyday. I am hoping that I find it here".
With plenty of land and plenty of sunshine, IVEDC Vice President, Sean Wilcock, says that renewable energy is the perfect gateway to bring jobs, which in turn, will result in an economic boost for the entire Imperial Valley.
"It's a new emerging industry here locally that is really finally coming to fruition this year. We've got several projects that are under construction and we're really making those connections fro local contractors and employees.
Being Local is the keyword. Wilcock says his company is focusing on hiring Imperial Valley residents, first.
"We're trying to connect local contractors with these opportunities so that they can hire additional employees to handle the workload", he says.
As for Chavez and his chances of getting a job?
He says he simply wants an opportunity to show them he is qualified for more than just one job.
"I have my commercial Drivers License so I have experience driving so hopefully I get a job driving a truck, watering. Whatever they need, you know".
Right now, plans have been finalized to build two Renewable Energy facilities in Imperial Valley. Officials tell me there are plans to build 20 more facilities over the next couple of years, which could bring thousands of new jobs to this area.
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