By Amanda Gamsu
Santa Clarita students have more job opportunities than they realize, especially in high-profile, high-paying industries like entertainment and technology.
The city isn’t just a quiet hometown- it’s also an investment and business haven. In fact, Santa Clarita showcased its success on Nov. 10, 2016 at the 21st annual Eddy Awards when it was recognized as the most business-friendly city in L.A. County with a population over 68,000.
Finalists for this award included the cities of Compton, Downey, Santa Clarita, Long Beach and Lakewood, with Santa Clarita taking home this prestigious honor.
The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation’s annual Eddy Awards promotes and recognizes leadership in economic development in government and business within L.A. County and focuses on expanding shared prosperity for its communities and residents.
A panel of blue ribbon judges selects the winner through various factors including, demonstrating a priority commitment to economic development, facilitating business entry, retention and expansion through programs and services, competitive business fee structures and tax rates, availability of economic incentives and having regular communication with their business clients.
Being granted this award will “Be a critical component of our efforts to attract businesses to the Santa Clarita Valley, especially those who are frustrated in other cities and who might otherwise consider relocating outside of California,” said president and CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation, Holly Schroeder.
“Receiving this badge of honor shows that the city is thinking proactively,” said LAEDC’s Director of Public Relations, Lawren Markle.
“The City of Santa Clarita maintains fiscal discipline and focuses its budget on key investments that meet community needs, they focus on maintaining and improving our modern infrastructure. It also has a balanced budget and a reserve fund, which means that the city will not be likely to raise taxes or fees in the foreseeable future.
“This is good news for local businesses who can make their business plans with greater certainty,” said Schroeder.
Having this prestige shows that Santa Clarita is “Tuned in on what skills are needed in job applicants to fill positions in their local workforce,” said Markle.
The topic of unemployment often comes up during the discussion of jobs, but Santa Clarita has one of the lowest unemployment rates at 4.6 percent compared to Los Angeles at 5.4 percent, Palmdale at 6.8 percent and Glendale at 4.9 percent. According to the November Economic Screenshot from the SCVEDC, the current unemployment rate in Santa Clarita is 15 percent lower than the rate recorded in October of 2015.
Santa Clarita is home to booming industries including, but not limited to technology, entertainment, biomedical and aerospace manufacturing.
“SCV is bucking statewide trends and in the past few years is showing growth in both manufacturing generally and aerospace specifically, statewide jobs in these sectors are declining,” said Schroeder.
Even though business is still new within the IT sector, it is growing rapidly. On Nov. 30, Scorpion Internet Marketing held the groundbreaking for its new headquarters right here in SCV.
And even if you aren’t technologically savvy, “The filming/digital media sector continues to thrive,” said Schroeder.
“Education is big out here as well when it comes to careers, three out of the five largest employers in SCV are William S Hart Union School District, Saugus Union School District, and COC,” said COC Job Developer James Morris.
“SCV is a commuter city, lots of people may leave for work but their families are still here and need to be taken care of. Government is always big, along with travel, and healthcare too,” said Morris.
Since COC is primarily a two-year institution besides offering only associates degrees they offer many vocational certificates that increase earnings directly, and help students get jobs. Completing a certificate program or receiving an associate’s degree can help students find a job quicker for they already have credited knowledge pertaining to a certain field.
Judges from the Eddy Awards even noted the comprehensive programs targeting industry incentives and strong partnership with College of the Canyons workforce development.
And furthering the advantages of COC students, America’s Job Center of California is conveniently located in the University Center on campus.
The services that the center offers include current job listings, workforce preparation such as resume assistance, training and education, job referrals and workshops, internship information, labor market information and even an out of area job search.
“Internships and job shadowing are also important for students because you find out if you really like the day-to-day grind of that career,” said Morris. “And just because you major in something it doesn’t mean you will always have to work in that field, you can keep your options open to what works best for you.”
The Small Business Development center also calls COC home. On Nov. 9 at the California SBDC Professional Development Conference the center was named the 2016 top performing small business development center within the Los Angeles Regional Network, surpassing the region’s seven other centers.
It can be tough to get a job during or after college, but in Santa Clarita there will always be some opportunity knocking.
“For all the students and local businesses out there, the most important thing is to make sure that you never limit yourself,” said Morris.