Article - Office of College Advancement

Ohlone hosts recruitment fair for Solyndra workers

By Wes Bowers.

Friday, March 16, 2012—Reprinted from Mercury News.

For Solyndra employees still looking for work, Ohlone College will host a recruitment event next week at its Newark campus.

Shadia Schoen, Ohlone's event spokesperson, said the college is hoping about 10 employers will show at the March 23 recruitment drive.

Because the event will be a "special recruitment," Schoen said there will not be as many companies looking for potential employees. Still, she noted firms that have expressed interest in attending include San Jose-based Xilinx, Sunnyvale's Bloom Energy, Preston Pipelines of Milpitas and Richmond-based Alion Solar.

"It's not the amount of companies; it's who's recruiting that makes these events special," Schoen said. "If it's manufacturing, green technology or something that will fit (a jobseeker's) skills, then that's what will attract them here."

This will be the second event of its kind the college has held for former Solyndra employees. Ohlone held a larger job recruitment fair for the defunct company's workers not long after the Fremont-based firm laid off 1,100 people without warning last August and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Founded in 2005, Solyndra designed and manufactured solar photovoltaic panels and mounts for the commercial rooftop market.

The company claimed it had installed its systems on more than 1,000 rooftops in more than 20 countries.

Solyndra was visited by President Barack Obama in May 2010 to tour its facilities at 47700 Kato Road. During that visit, Obama praised the firm as an example of how green-tech companies deliver jobs.

Solyndra used $535 million in federal monies from the 2005 Energy Policy Act to construct a new fabrication facility on Kato Road just down the street from company headquarters. The facility created 3,000 construction jobs and an additional 1,000 green-tech jobs once the new building was finished.

Hundreds of additional jobs were supposed to be created for the installation of Solyndra PV systems in the United States, the firm claimed.

For the prior jobs event, Schoen said there were as many as 30 companies and more than 200 employees who showed.

Schoen said many former Solyndra employees are most likely nearing the end of their Trade Adjustment Assistance training, and this special recruitment fair could potentially help them find work right out of the training gate.

Last year, President Obama signed the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act aimed at providing benefits and services to those who become unemployed due to the impact of international trade.

"We're getting a pretty good group of employers coming to these things," Schoen said. "From our experiences in the past, employers like to come to our fairs because there are so many qualified job seekers looking for work. This will be a very good event."

Those unable to attend next Friday's event will have more opportunities in April and May, as Ohlone plans on holding larger job fairs for all who are looking for work not just former Solyndra employees, Schoen said.

The job event will take place from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Tri-Cities One Stop Career Center at Ohlone College's Newark Campus, 39399 Cherry St. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, call Schoen at 742-2328 or 742-2323 or e-mail sschoen@ohlone.edu.

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