Southern Humboldt now has a dedicated Business Service Coordinator for the Humboldt Workforce Coalition (HWC). Redway resident Leann Greene was hired by HWC in June as the region’s Business Service Coordinator and has reached out to residents and businesses in South Humboldt as she implements HWC’s mission: “Bringing together resources that meet the needs of employers and employees.” meet to promote the prosperity of our communities.”
The HWC offers services ranging from CV preparation to job training for job seekers and offers employers training support and hiring incentives, among other things. Greene explained that training new hires can be prohibitively expensive for employers, but HWC stands ready to help by connecting job seekers with livelihood jobs.
According to Greene, the average living wage in Humboldt County is just over $21 an hour right now. HWC understands that some people may not earn a living wage and is committed to training local workers for living wage employment. “If an employer offers $18 an hour, we take the job because we have bills to pay; …but we also understand that this may not be a long-term job. …We want to get you into skilled work and hopefully work that you love and enjoy,” she said.
While the cannabis economy is falling free, many in South Humboldt are looking for a job. Greene hopes those in need will reach out to her. “I really want to encourage people who are frustrated and are leaving the cannabis industry and reassure them that there are great jobs in Humboldt County,” she said.
One of Greene’s goals as Business Service Coordinator is to remove barriers to services, many of which are only available in the county seat of Eureka; a drive that for some residents is up to two hours away. Greene has monthly office hours in Garberville, but also does a lot to bring HWC services to residents of the rural communities in which they live. In coordinating efforts through community centers and event gatherings, Greene travels the vast countryside of southern Humboldt offering assistance to those in need.
Ultimately, Greene wants to see a robust local economy in South Humboldt that attracts quality employers to the area. However, finding skilled workers has been a problem for development in the past. “Our primary mission is to create a workforce that will help attract businesses to locate in Humboldt County. At the moment we have great resources [and] Companies are very interested in Humboldt County, but when it comes to people development, we kind of fall flat,” she said.
The HWC is currently working with the College of the Redwoods as an education partner offering training opportunities to job seekers. Greene said HWC is looking to expand educational opportunities by working with Cal Poly Humboldt and various trade schools, including the local Beauty College, to offer a broader range of training programs to meet the needs of Humboldt County businesses.
Currently, Greene said, the number one area for job growth is healthcare, but over the next few years major development projects in Humboldt will create thousands of jobs for skilled workers. The hope is to create a workforce that will support the region’s growth and economic stability.
Greene can be reached in person on the second Wednesday of each month from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Garberville Complex on Cedar Street or at the various outreach events she will be attending. For more information about these events or to set up a meeting with Greene, email her at [email protected] or leave her a phone message through the main office at (707) 441-5627.
Note: At the time of this interview, the news of the PG&E issues that could hamper development in South Humboldt was unaware.
This article was written by Lisa Music, a local freelance journalist. To reach Lisa for tips, questions, or comments, email her at [email protected]