Local job seekers pounce upon very few jobs | AspenTimes.com

Local job seekers pounce upon very few jobs

BASALT ” Aspen and Snowmass aren’t the only places in the valley with a glut of job seekers but only a few openings.

The overwhelming response to an administrative assistant opening at the Basalt fire department is a telltale sign of these tough economic times.

The department placed a classified advertisement for the position in a local newspaper earlier this month.

“By the end of the day we had 30 applicants,” said Jen Lemke, financial controller for the fire district.

She canceled the ad after four days and, at that point, had 55 applications. A few more dribbled in before they stopped accepting applications.

Based on past experience, department officials expected 10 or so applicants.

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“We’ve never had this type of response,” fire chief Scott Thompson said.

The position pays between $16 and $19 per hour, with full benefits.

Lemke estimated that about half of the applicants were qualified for the position’s responsibilities. Several applicants are veterans of the food and beverage industry and roughly 10 percent work in real estate offices, she said. Many of them are currently employed, but she got the impression they felt they might soon be out of work.

Some of the applicants appeared to be taking a shotgun approach and applying for anything available. When they answered Lemke’s call to set up an interview, it took them a second to realize which position she referred to.

“I’m sensing they have resumes out all over the place,” Lemke said.

The vast majority of applicants were from downvalley areas.

“We got a slew of them from Silt, New Castle, Rifle and Grand Junction,” she said.

The district wants to stick with someone who lives closer to its midvalley headquarters. Lemke and Thompson are in the process of interviewing finalists.

Some upvalley businesses have been besieged by job seekers. There are usually more openings than employees to fill them, but the national economic crisis has reversed that trend. In an ironic twist from prior seasons, “no help wanted” signs have popped up in some business windows.

scondon@aspentimes.com

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