News Column

Job-seekers Looking Into Alaskan Jobs

Feb 14, 2013

Rick Elkins, The Porterville Recorder, Calif.

More than 30 people crammed into a small room at the Employment Connection Tuesday morning looking for a job, even working off the coast of Alaska.

What had peaked their interest was the offer of seasonal employment with Icicle Seafoods, a world-wide provider of seafood products looking for workers for its salmon season.

Kevin Timm, assistant fleet manager for the company, said they were looking to fill about 900 jobs that would run from mid-April to the end of September in remote areas of Alaska.

He said they are recruiting at several sites, especially those with high unemployment and where workers are accustomed to seasonal work.

"We're looking for [workers for] both floating and land plants," he said of the workers being sought. The job is to clean and prepare the fish, mostly salmon and some herring, for processing.

Hector Carrasquillo of Lindsay was just looking for a job, but he had tried to get on with the company once before. He said it was a good opportunity.

"It has to be. There's not much else," he said of finding work. The married father of four said he was willing to leave his family behind to have a job.

"The way this economy is going, there's not much going on [here]," he said.

A veteran, he said he has carpentry skills, but has not been able to find a job.

He was one of approximately 35 people, including five women, who came to hear what the company offered.

Timm said the job pays only Alaska minimum wage, $7.75 an hour, but there is lots of overtime and almost no expenses once a person is in Alaska. The company also covers transportation from Seattle, Wash. to Alaska.

He said the crews work seven days a week, sometimes as many as 16 hours a day. In Alaska, anything over eight hours a day or 40 hours a week is overtime.

"Most of these locations, there's nothing to do, nothing to spend your money on," said Timm, so nearly everything they earn is kept.

Right now, the jobs will be during the summer months of Alaska when daytime temperatures will be in the 50s and 60s and "there's lots of daylight." He said they operate pretty much from the Canadian border all the way to the Bering Sea.

Still, it is not easy work. The days are long and Timm said the number one thing a person must have is "stamina."

Timm, and Danielle Beckett of the Workforce Service Branch both said they were pleased with the turnout. It was not known how many may be offered a job.

Source: (c)2013 The Porterville Recorder (Porterville, Calif.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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