Hate your job? Employment numbers imply now's the time to get a better one

Hate your job? Employment numbers imply now's the time to get a better one

(KUTV) Utah's unemployment rate is currently one of the lowest in the nation at 3.4 percent compared to the national average of 4.9 percent.

Those numbers create a unique opportunity for Utah's workforce services and those looking to climb the career ladder. Experts say it's a good time to be looking for a job or looking to find a better job because employers need you.

The greatest need right now, they say, is for skilled and highly trained labor in technology.

Angel Montero, a 19 -year-old West High School grad is working on his general education credits at Salt Lake Community College. He's an assistant kitchen manager at Taqueria 27 in Holladay, where he's worked for two years.

Watching the teen work, there is no doubt, he's gained some serious knife skills in the kitchen. He says cooking is fun, but this isn't his dream job.

"I'm really good with computers, and my goal is a career building software with a degree in "computer science," he said.

Montero is working towards the degree because he's passionate about it and the pay is good. For him the path is clear, though he is the first in his family to attend college.

In the next years, Montero knows he'll need to push beyond his comfort zone in the kitchen and move on to more skilled labor.

"This job is helping me pay for school," he said, "but when I start taking main classes for my computer science degree is when I will get more serious."

That's when the teen will start to focus in on training that will help him with his degree and, he hopes, his dream job.

"You may not have the skill set for the job you want yet, but it is still important that you are working," said Nate McDonald with Utah's Workforce Services.

He said Montero is on the right path and should have no problem stepping into the high tech field in the current job market.

"A lot of employers are looking for a skilled workforce, and they want to find people who don't quite have the skills but are willing to learn those skills," McDonald said, noting high-tech employers are often willing to train. "Whether it is aerospace with the composite technicians or diesel technology, you have a lot of these industries where their labor force is getting ready to retire and they are looking into her crib a new younger labor force."

This need puts power in the hands of job seekers.

"It is a tight job market," said Todd Gardiner, owner of Taqueria 27 who knows, as Montero's boss, the competition is stiff. "As employers, we should try to do everything we can to encourage people to stay around."

He knows Montero won't stay forever, but he'll keep him as long as he can. "He is a driven, motivated kid, and he definitely has direction, " he said.

On Wednesday, those looking for work can attend the state's largest job fair, taking place in Provo.

The Utah Valley Job Fair will be held March 9 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Utah Valley Convention Center.

The timing has been set specifically to cater to both those who are currently unemployed and those who are under-employed, including workers who are not fully utilizing their skills, training, experience or education.

For more information, click here.

Follow Heidi Hatch on Twitter @tvheidihatch for breaking news, updates and more.

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