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SCV business community poised to catapult to next level

A big jump in the number of people who would take a pay cut to work locally is revealed

Posted: July 27, 2012 4:48 p.m.
Updated: July 27, 2012 4:48 p.m.
 

A recent regional labor market analysis and survey of local Santa Clarita businesses found the SCV is “preparing its business community to catapult to the next level very soon, and that the workforce is well positioned to support high growth industries in the years to come.”

Released by the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp. Friday, the study also unveiled some updated information on the local labor market and challenges to local businesses.

In comparison to the San Fernando Valley the study, conducted by Alfred Gobar & Associates with the SCVEDC, found that SCV is significantly in the lead when it comes to job openings that are higher paying and require four-year degrees. Over 50 percent of the workforce possesses a college degree or higher.

The region also hosts a diverse blend of strong and sustainable industries that will continue to grow, offering residents more job opportunities in the future.

“Santa Clarita Valley is home to a diverse industry mix, which offers high-paying quality jobs,” said Jonas Peterson, president/CEO of the SCVEDC. “From biomedical companies such as Advanced Bionics and Boston Scientific, to cutting-entertainment companies such as WayForward to Disney, our valley attracts some of the most progressive industries, companies and job opportunities for residents.”

A growing number of residents, however, seek job and career opportunities locally. Over 50 percent of the work force travels on average 60 minutes for work outside the SCV.

When asked about balancing work and home life, 40 percent of those surveyed said they would accept a pay cut of 10 percent if they could both live and work in Santa Clarita.

That number is up significantly from a previous survey by the city of Santa Clarita. In April 2010, the city said 35 percent of the residents commuted outside the region, however, only 10 percent said they would accept a decrease in salary to work locally.

That willingness to accept a pay cut bodes well for companies willing to relocate to the region and hire locally by giving them a competitive advantage.

The study clearly shows that residents want to work close to home, Peterson said. The non-profit is aggressively working on raising the number of jobs from 1.55 to 2 jobs per household.

“Attracting companies that offer high-quality paying jobs within various industries is our goal in an effort to provide residents the opportunity to work locally,” Peterson said.

When comparing the existing jobs to those offered outside the area,

Santa Clarita companies employ many people in areas such as business management and finance, professional sciences, IT, media entertainment and construction industries; whereas the San Fernando Valley workforce relies more on experience-based skills associated with sales, service and clerical, the study found.

When surveying workforce needs of existing local companies, 58 percent of the businesses with 50 or more employees need to hire people who have had vocational training (35 percent), or who have had a basic education (23 percent).

By comparison, however, 50 percent of businesses with 10 to 49 employees said they most need workers with existing job-related skills as needed most.  

“Santa Clarita Valley is home to a diverse industry mix, which offers high-paying quality jobs,” Peterson said. “From Biomedical companies such as Advanced Bionics and Boston Scientific, to cutting-entertainment companies such as WayForward to Disney, our valley attracts some of the most progressive industries, companies and job opportunities for residents.”

Also included in the study, were several onsite visits to local businesses from varying industries to discuss what challenges they faced for the next two years.

Access to operating capital to fulfill orders was cited as an obstacle for many. Restricted capital was cited as a critical threat to nearly one-third of all firms with less than 10 employees.

Additionally, approximately one-third of all firms with 10 or more employees identified compliance with environmental regulations as a critical challenge. That number was even higher for those in the manufacturing industries who cited offshore operations as another threat.

The general state of the economy and high corporate tax structure in California was cited by many business leaders as a serious challenge to growing their business over the next two years. The same group praised the relatively low cost of operating in the SCV.

The SCV Economic Development Corp., which has directed its efforts at business attraction and retention, has put together a number of programs to boost the benefits for employers and residents alike.

Working with local banks and the Valley Economic Development Center, it is working with businesses to secure capital and received approval earlier this year for a valley-wide Enterprise Zone program granting tax credits to local businesses. The SCVEDC also works with brokers and companies to secure a location for their business.

Courier Messenger of Valencia recently found itself in a position to potentially expand significantly when owner J.C. Burnett felt overwhelmed by the need to put several things in place quickly including finding money, site selection and hiring until he connected with the SCVEDC. The company now has much more confidence in expanding with the help it’s been given, Burnett said.

“We are excited at the potential opportunity to move forward, and have much more confidence in the process given the value of our partnership with the SCVEDC.”

 jadkins@the-signal.com

661-287-5599

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