By Kelley Atherton
Triplicate staff writer
CRESCENT CITY More than 200 people showed up at the Workforce Center on Tuesday, application in hand, looking for a chance to work at Starbucks.
Tim Hoone, director for the Workforce Center, said that the number of applicants exceeded other Starbucks store openings. In addition, the Starbucks representatives conducting interviews were impressed with the quality of applicants.
He suggested that the impressive number of eager workers is due to the benefits offered to employees working 20 hours or more a week. Plus, it's a well-known brand. On the applications everyone said that they had been to a Starbucks before.
"This is an example of the big city comes to Del Norte County," Hoone said about the excitement.
Worldwide, Starbucks has about 150,000 employees. The Crescent City Starbucks will hire about 20 to 25 people.
Hoone said that about 1,000 people come through the Workforce Center a month and 45 on average find employment. A lot of people talk about how hard it is to find a job, he said, but that's why there's a Workforce Center.
"Businesses will always need good employees," Hoone said. "People don't always know how to go about job searching."
Chris Howard, former Crescent City-Del Norte Chamber of Commerce president, said that the large turnout was probably due to Starbucks' popularity, making it enticing for young adults.
"They're well-known," Howard said. "They treat their employees well."
Finding a job that pays well, with flexible hours and benefits is not easy to come by; it's an attractive offer, Hoone said. A lot of that has to do with the county's rural situation.
"It's hard to find a job that pays $13 an hour," he said.
Howard doesn't think the local unemployment rate is above average for California. However, employers could be having a hard time finding quality employees.
"For the uneducated workforce, a job (at Starbucks) is appealing," he said.
A large majority of high school students don't go on to college and even worse, a lot don't make it past their freshman year in high school, Howard said.
The simple answer for more jobs in Del Norte is an influx of businesses. Howard mentioned that the old Square Deal building will bring several new retailers to the area in the next year.
The answer to creating jobs for hundreds of people is tricky. The fishing and lumber industries are not as lucrative as they once were, and there is no definitive industry in the county. The tourist industry is an obvious choice for the area, given its natural beauty, Howard said. Specifically the resort industry could be a new venture for Del Norte.
The Elk Valley and Smith River Rancherias have talked about building resorts for years, including convention centers, retail stores, a golf course, spas and a concert center. A single resort could produce 300 jobs, Howard said.