Santa Clarita named among worst places to start career; business leaders say otherwise

Dan Watson Riders exit the cars exited to be some of the first to ride the new Twisted Colossus coaster at the media preview event at Six Flags Magic Mountain on Wednesday. 052015

Santa Clarita ranked among the worst places in the nation to start a career, a WalletHub study showed. But the local business industry disagrees.

The report, titled “Best & Worst Places to Start a Career,” was released on May 14, said “(the) market is ripe for new graduates,” as the national unemployment rate marks a low 3.8%.

WalletHub looked at more than 180 U.S. cities and ranked each based on 29 key metrics including: the availability of entry-level jobs, unemployment rate, housing affordability, the share of millennial newcomers and average commute time.

Out of 180, Santa Clarita ranked No. 172 and received a score of 160 under “professional opportunities” and 175 for “quality of life.”

Santa Clarita Valley businesses and industry leaders say otherwise. In fact, some business organizations have emphasized features aimed at attracting not only seasoned workers but also the future workforce. For example, the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp. has a section on its website labeled, “Quality of Life.”

“From theme parks and historic house tours to endless outdoor recreation and celebrity sightings, you can fill your days with plenty of fantastic experiences for all ages,” the website reads. “Santa Clarita sits perfectly in the middle of all the top Southern California events and excursions.”  

Some local resources specifically made to train the incoming workforce includes the College of the Canyons Employee Training Institutes, which offers flexible programs for employee development.

Both SCVEDC and COC, as well as the SCV Chamber of Commerce, work closely together to meet the needs of the community, said Evan Thomason, economic development associate who oversees the tourism office for the city.

“There’s a lot of synergies, and when we find a need, we really do our best to do what benefits everyone,” he said. The city’s Business Incubator was created for “businesses to grow and to build up and expand their employment opportunities,” Thomason said. One of the companies in the program, he added,  started with three people and are now at nine employees, some of which are recently hired, college graduates.

Six Flags Magic Mountain, the SCV’s largest employer with about 3,200 workers, is known for hiring young people from in and around the valley, as well as Princess Cruises, the second-largest local employer.

“Being a longtime resident, Six Flags is a place where people in college or in high school have gained so much experience. I worked at Six Flags. I was 18 years old and supervising 40 other people.” Thomason said.

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