January 22, 2015
Reflecting the rebounding economy, jobs are booming at the El Sol Neighborhood Resource Center. Almost 2,000 more hires were made in 2014 compared to the previous year. The number of hirings has more than doubled since 2009.
“The local area has seen a huge increase in construction in the last year, and our numbers show that,” said Jocelyn Skolnik, executive director of the non-profit center at the southwest corner of Military Trail and Indiantown Road.
Opened in 2007, the center matches workers and employers in jobs such as landscaping, moving, painting, construction, general labor and housekeeping. Employers, who along with workers must register with the center, pay workers an average hourly rate of about $10.
A growing economy is not the only reason for the increase, Skolnik said. “Our workers have a very good reputation. They have a very strong work ethic,” Skolnik said.
About 85 percent of El Sol workers are from other countries. The rest are from the Palm Beach County area. Most of the hires, about 90 percent, are men.
El Sol registration forms require workers to list their country of origin. They are not required to list their immigration status.
More than 300 volunteers at El Sol help with language classes, free meals, a food pantry, sewing and computer classes, health referral clinics and free community events such as movies and art shows. A 30-plot community garden was started last year. The town rents the building to El Sol for $1 annually.
The organization’s annual budget is about $1 million. There are five full-time El Sol employees.
Vocational training programs are regularly held at the center, said Associate Director Dora Valdivia. Workers learn how to use power tools and skills in housekeeping, moving furniture, construction and landscaping. An OSHA workshop teaches workers about safety on scaffolding.
Jobs filled at El Sol: *