Commerce : City-Funded Jobs Program Shows Success in Referrals

When Martha Duran was job hunting in 1991 and stood in line at the unemployment office, she said she felt like a number. Then she tried the city's Employment Referral Office.

Within days, the free computerized referral service found her a job as hotel housekeeper. Today, she is a housekeeping supervisor who oversees 20 employees.

The city-run office found jobs for 311 people last year and has placed 6,000 people since 1982, said Carlos Hernandez, city employment specialist.

The program opened with a federal grant in 1982. When the grant ran out three years ago, the city stepped in to cover the program's $120,000 yearly budget, making it one of the few city-funded programs of its kind in the state, said Robert Chavez, manager of the city's social service division.

While the program primarily serves city residents, it is free to employers and job seekers from other areas. The service's computer lists more than 60 jobs, and more leads are added daily, Hernandez said. Jobs range from janitorial and clerical positions to warehouse and management opportunities. Hourly wages range from the minimum $4.25 to $14, depending on experience.

Job applicants should call the city to set up an appointment for an interview and to fill out an application. The Employment Referral Office is at 4461 Harbor St. in the North Annex Building of City Hall. Office hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Information: (213) 887-5550.

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