Apr 5, 2013 9:45 PM by April Hansen, KSBY News

New Walmart store hiring 80 positions, while Santa Maria fights 12% unemployment

A second Walmart Neighborhood Market will soon be opening its doors in Santa Maria and is offering about 80 new positions for a community that needs more jobs for the unemployed.

Santa Maria's unemployment rate is at 12 percent.

That's almost five points higher than the state of California and surrounding communities like San Luis Obispo and Bakersfield. To boost job growth, the city is working to bring in more opportunities for those without jobs by bringing in more businesses.

"I started out just as a basic position and I really didn't have a lot of plans with the company," said Marcos Cruz, Walmart employee.

He went from unemployment, to a part time position, and now will be managing the new Walmart Neighborhood Market, set to open on Blosser Street in Santa Maria.

Now his job is finding employees.

"We are creating 80 new jobs and then we will also be creating 20 temporary positions to set up the store," said Cruz.

The store is helping to create new jobs for a community with a growing population and not enough employment.

"And that means we have 5,000 people out of work in Santa Maria," said Dave Cross, Director of Santa Maria's Economic Development Commission.

Cross says the city used to have a thriving economy with more people bringing home a paycheck.

"Our mission is to get them back into the workforce," said Cross.

To do that, the city is working on several projects, like the movie theatre, that they hope will bring more opportunity for those out of work.

"Whether it's through a department store, through the theatre, through other jobs that are provided, through other businesses here in Santa Maria, we want to do that. That's all part of the big picture," said Cross.

Marcos Cruz says he hopes his store will create those opportunities.

"We are staffing everyone from basic positions of cashiering, entry level positions up to any supervisor positions available," said Cruz.

The wage for employees at the Blosser Walmart store will range from minimum wage to $12 an hour depending on the position.

David Cross says the positions that may be open for a department store downtown and the movie theatre may be lower paying than manufacturing jobs, but he says it's getting someone's foot in the door for those higher paying positions.

The Walmart Neighborhood Market Blosser location will continue to accept applications for a few weeks.

The temporary hiring center is located at 1027 Blosser Road and is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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