"I'm ready to work. I'm ready to go. I'm ready to run," said Julie Meeks.
They share a past as co-workers at NUMMI. Now many of them are ready to go back to work after retraining to work in the medical field. Kaiser Permanente held a job fair just for them. Meeks worked in the passenger body shop and she is seeking a job as a sterile process technician.
"Your application when you put it in online, you're one out of thousands whereas Kaiser is coming here, and hopefully I can get in or find something and get my toe in the door," said Meeks.
Six hundred NUMMI workers, elected to take medical job training. That's about a third of the 2,700 laid-off autoworkers who sought job retraining. That career choice turned out to be a good one because Kaiser Permanente has about two thousand openings at any given time in Northern California. Recruiters are impressed by these former NUMMI workers.
"They have a great attitude. They're asking all the right questions. They're coming with some great experience. They've had some retraining. I think they have a very good chance," said Rhonda Zancanelli, a Kaiser Permanente recruiter.
Higher skilled technician jobs pay from $21 to $33 an hour. That comes close to matching what they made at NUMMI.
"When you look at what they do, attention to details, team work, being able to focus on process, and of course, dealing with customers... those are all transferrable skills that we're looking for," said Ron Li, an area recruitment manager.
Kaiser Permanente is even coaching the former NUMMI workers how to fill out an online application. While there's no guarantee of a job for all 600, the applicants say they finally see their lives back on track.
"Life's changed... you know, it threw a curve ball at me, but I accepted it. And like I said, I'm excited about the change and I really see a good future ahead for me and my family," said Freddy Medina, a medical assistant trainee.
Some of these job candidates might hear back from a recruiter as fast as this Saturday and if they pass their background check and their drug screen, they might be working within five or six weeks.
Free Job Fair For Everyone:
HIREvents sponsored by KGO-TV and the Job Journal
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Noon -- 4 p.m.
255 South Airport Blvd.
South San Francisco, CA