Attractive & affordable, the area is coming into its own.
Stanislaus County’s motto – “It’s closer than you think” – is proving to be prophetic as the Bay Area sprawl marches eastward into the Central Valley, with housing developments and industrial complexes covering fertile farmland, and commuters outnumbering 18-wheelers on Highway 99.
Still, county planners understand that people need to work and live where they can spend time with their friends and family. The Stanislaus County Economic and Workforce Alliance fosters and supports opportunities for economic development and helps current businesses expand.
Help Finding Work
The best spot to begin a job hunt is the Stanislaus Career Network – one-stop help centers where jobseekers can find out about jobs and new careers, get information, and use valuable technology to advance their search.
Technology, as a skill set, is becoming more dominant, even in the food and warehousing industries. If you do not know how to work a computer, you’d better run to catch up because that train has left the station.
Helping you expand your job-readiness skills and knowing how to apply for work is where the research centers are most beneficial. They know where the jobs are and what it takes to be a top candidate.
Another source of assistance is the Central Valley Opportunity Center, which works to improve the standard of living for many low-income residents. “We are a vocational training school that offers several programs – cooking, general business occupations, welding, cashiering and auto repair,” reports a CVOC intake counselor. “Our main target is the seasonal farm worker, but we also work with several grants to aid jobseekers regardless of their background.”
Training programs, which are free for low-income participants, run 12 to 26 weeks depending on the skill set. County residents can walk in with no referral.
“We encourage them to educate themselves to get a better life and a better standard of living,” says the counselor. “The most rewarding [aspect] is that people have changed their lives for the better.”
According to EDD’s Labor Market Information, occupations in Stanislaus County expected to generate the most job openings include registered nurses, elementary and secondary school teachers, office clerks, truck drivers and retail salespeople.
A critical shortage of nurses is amplified by the county’s growing and aging population. If you are a nurse in the area, you would be unemployed only on the days you want to be.
Jobs in healthcare and the trades, such as carpenters, construction workers and plumbers, have seen robust growth – a result of the expanding number of residential and commercial developments. The services industry, from hospitals to hospitality, is booming.
Although technology work is making its way over the hill from the Bay Area, agriculture is still the major employer, followed by construction, manufacturing, transportation, wholesale, retail, finance and real estate, services and government.
The $1.2-billion agriculture industry, representing over $10 billion in revenue each year, makes a significant economic impact in the community. Big names in the field include E.J. Gallo, Foster Poultry Farms, Del Monte Foods and Hunt-Wesson, Inc.
The county’s central location between Highway 99 and Interstate 5 also is ideal for manufacturing because it facilitates the rapid transport of goods by land, air and water. The ports of Stockton and Oakland are less than one hour away.
Stanislaus County is still an agricultural community with acres of orchards throughout the fertile valley, but growth is evident in the mushrooming housing developments. Although the county includes several sizeable communities such as Oakdale, Escalon, Salida and Turlock, home of California State University Stanislaus, the largest city remains Modesto, 90 miles east of San Francisco with a population of 200,000.
Carloads of commuters have residences here because housing is more affordable than the Bay Area. It is taking time for jobs to catch up with all the growth.
The Modesto Chamber of Commerce is working to improve traffic infrastructure to accommodate growth and the recent increase in the number of chain stores opening in the county. The chamber wants to improve education and have more skilled employees to fill those new positions so people can work where they live. As California’s economy continues its robust rebound, Stanislaus’s vision may be closer than you think.
For more information about Stanislaus County, visit these websites:
- Central Valley Opportunity Center – cvoc.org, (209) 577-3210.
- Modesto Chamber of Commerce – modchamber.org, (209) 577-5757.
- Stanislaus Career Network – stannet.org, (209) 558-2100.
- Stanislaus County Economic and Workforce Alliance – stanalliance.com, (209) 567-4985.