A stronger economy and greater community awareness helped spur a record increase in the number of workers hired at the El Sol Neighborhood Resource Center last year.
In all, 10,616 workers were hired in 2012, an increase of 16 percent in jobs filled, said Jocelyn Skolnik, the center's executive director. The previous high was 9,129 in 2011.
El Sol, which opened in 2006, connects workers with employers and homeowners needing day labor.
"It's a combination of things," Skolnik said of last year's hiring increase. "It's a sign that the economy is improving, but there's also word out in the community that the workers at El Sol are very reliable. People come here to hire them because they know that they'll do a great job."
The majority of jobs were temporary in nature, including landscaping, painting, moving, lawn care, house cleaning, shutter installation, construction and general labor, Skolnik said. About 10 percent of the workers hired were women.
An average of 99 workers were available daily in 2012, with 30 percent being hired, up from 25 percent in 2011.
The number of available workers has decreased in recent years, leading to a greater placement rate, Skolnik said.
"Back in 2008-2009, we used to get up to 200 more people," she said. "I think people are finding more permanent employment as well, so there's not such a high need for day labor. Less people are coming in. It's a great thing."
The El Sol center, on Military Trail just south of Indiantown Road, provides vocational training to improve workers' skills and increase job opportunities by attracting more employers.
Vocational training courses include landscaping, painting, pressure cleaning, housekeeping, hurricane shutter installation and others.
Workers also have acquired on-the-job training in various skills such as roofing, painting and landscaping through volunteer work on Habitat for Humanity home construction and other community service improvement projects.
"We're really focusing on vocational training right now, so the workers that come here have skills that they can offer their employers," Skolnik said.
El Sol's day-labor service is open to all Jupiter residents, although employers come from throughout the county.
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