The California Department of Health Services held what is now their Second Annual Job Fair at Atascadero State Hospital (ASH), Sept. 15.
One of five such facilities in the state, ASH routinely employs around 2,140 people, with constant turnover in entry level positions in particular, said staffers working information booths inside.
Held from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the conference room adjacent to the main lobby of the hospital at 10333 El Camino Real, last year saw between 400-500 people out for the event. While numbers are still being tallied currently, there seemed to have been fewer visitors this year according to those who’d been to both. That could be, said ASH Public Information Officer Phillip Koziel, because of the different employment climate from this time last year, or the fact that most of the position qualifications for nursing and other posts can be handled online by applicants who already know what they want to do.
Job classifications available include hospital police, technically a State Police officer posting, kitchen and serving staff, custodial staff, warehouse workers, groundskeepers, information technology staff, plant operations — plumbers, builders and maintenance — staff, administrative roles, and, of course, social workers and psych-tech nursing staff.
With the facility in constant need of the later, Cuesta College had a booth on hand to explain their year-long training program, which is lottery based for the limited number of slots.
One of the highest turnover jobs being in food service, managers noted that was due to workers often moving up in the organization, otherwise known as the “foot in the door” strategy.
“I tell people don’t be afraid to apply anyway, even if you don’t think you have the qualification, go beyond the face value of forms,” Koziel said. “Our last director started out as an office tech and made it up to executive director through experience.”
Hospital Administrator Robert Hushing-Kline said at the event that ASH being both a high-security facility and one of only a few left in the state offered a high degree of job security as well, unlike the power station at Diablo Canyon, “we’re not going anywhere.”
“As long as the need exists for what we do we’re going to be here,” he said. “It’s a good career as well, good jobs in the community. I went from being a CPA to to working as an administrator here.”
Outreach staff were stretched thin for the event as the fair coincided with their charity golf tournament where someone hit the “Hole in One” jackpot, winning a car donated as a prize. Proceeds from the tournament benefit the Parents for Joy playground project slated for the lot behind the Atascadero Community Center. A check presentation is expected during an ASH staff barbecue on Oct. 10.
For more information, call the ASH Human Resources Department 805-468-3384 or go online to dsh.ca.gov/Atascadero/.