Between 1500 and 2000 people descended on the Ronald Reagan Community Center in El Cajon on February 19 for the opportunity to speak with some of the over three dozen companies and organizations at a job fair organized by Congressman Duncan D. Hunter. The event was part of Congressman Hunter’s efforts to help the people in his district who have been hit by the economic downturn. The Congressman’s office worked with the East County Career Center to set up the event and provide the venue.
I had the opportunity to speak with Congressman Hunter briefly after he addressed attendees and business representatives. He talked about how California is suffering not just from the economic downturn but from high taxes and regulations that put it at a disadvantage compared to other states. As an example, he said that Texas representatives have been contacting California companies and offering businesses bonuses such as immediate zoning and no state taxes for 10 years to relocate there. The Congressman indicated that his goal is to bring more large companies to the East County, in his words, “four or five more Qualcomms” that would boost employment.
Congressman Hunter also talked to me about the Government Small Business Procurement Outreach Workshop he had spoken at earlier that day. His reason for being involved with the Workshop was similar to that for the Job Fair – helping the people and businesses in his district and the wider county to become more successful. He talked about how small businesses have the innovations that the government wants and needs, and how they need help jumping through the hoops of government contracting. There is no telling which company will be the next garage-based business that grows into an Apple.
During the Job Fair I also had the chance to talk to both business representatives and attendees, and there were many interesting stories on both sides. Among the business I spoke with were Office Advantage and Scripps Health. Both were there looking for people to fit particular positions, but were also doing this as part of their community involvement. Many of the companies and organizations at the job fair had participated at a previous job fair organized by Congressman Hunter’s office, and were happy to be invited again for this one. In fact, there were over a dozen companies on a waiting list for space at the fair. Congressman Hunter hopes to find a larger venue for future job fairs, which he plans to continue organizing as long as there is a need.