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HIRING: 20 Percent Of Riverside County Job Fair Attendees Get Prelim Employment Offers

Some local unemployed are looking to Canada for work -- and finding it.

More than 500 job seekers eager to take advantage of open positions at Canadian construction firms turned out Tuesday for a first-of-its- kind recruitment drive in Riverside County.

"One hundred people received preliminary job offers," county Foreign Trade Commissioner Tom Freeman told City News Service.

"But -- and this is important -- many more resumes are being taken back to Canada, where they'll be shown to some 1,200 employers."

held at the county's Workforce Development Center on Monroe Street in Indio.

A line began forming at the site hours before the event began at 10 a.m.

"One man began standing in line at 6:30 a.m.," Freeman said. "He was profoundly thankful for the opportunity to interview. We had people who haven't worked in five years. These individuals' desire to travel and work in Canada is driven by necessity."

Representatives from the following seven companies were on hand:

-- Arcadia Northwest Mechanical Inc.;

-- Canfor;

-- DM Henderson Roofing Ltd.

-- JJM Construction Ltd.;

-- LMS Reinforcing Steel;

-- MPC Consulting Ltd.; and

-- Teck Coal Ltd.

Recruiters were looking for mechanics, refrigeration technicians, ironworkers, crane operators, gas fitters, millwrights, industrial plumbers, pipefitters, electricians, geotechnical and electrical engineers, along with other hardhat positions, according to Freeman.

Canada suffers a shortage of qualified labor in the construction trades, Freeman said.

The manufacturing and construction industries have been the hardest-hit locally in the Great Recession, with employment still well below 2007 levels.

This was the first time the county had partnered with Canadian associations to hold a recruitment drive, Freeman said.

"There is interest among Canadian provinces to do the same thing," Freeman said. "We'll likely do something again early next year."

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