El Centro resident Arizay Reyna has seen the faces of unemployment.
It’s some of the patients that come to her work as a medical assistant. It’s friends in the childcare sector who had hours cut back. It’s even family members who have hit a rough patch when the economy dropped off and jobs became scarce.
And because Imperial Valley has such a high unemployment rate, she said she can really understand the need for the governor’s economic development office coming down to speak with small business owners and unemployed residents.
“That would be good,” she said. “Everyone needs a job.”
The second Governor’s Conference on Small Business and Entrepreneurship will be held Thursday morning and afternoon at the Imperial Valley Expo.
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Imperial County is one of three locations for the series of 2010 conferences.
Calls to the governor’s office were not answered by press time.
The conference is open to everyone, including small business owners, unemployed people who want to be self-employed and those just entering the workplace, said Gustavo Reza, director of the Imperial Valley Small Business Development Center. The purpose is to bring together state and local officials with business owners and residents to find a way to survive with the weakened economy.
For individuals the governor’s conference allows them to network in case jobs around the area do open up, he said.
“While it’s not typically a job fair, the businesses there are those who want to grow,” he said.
The most important reasons for the conference is to bring the information to the community about what is available, locally and statewide, he said. Even though a lot of businesses are small, they can compete against the bigger stores.
“The more information that is available, the more you are able to survive,” Reza said.
Another important reason to have it locally is to give the state officials a chance to experience the county, he said. It’s one thing to hear about the more than 30 percent unemployment, but it’s a whole different issue to see it.
Imperial County is a small community surrounded by giants, like San Diego, Mexicali and Riverside, Reza said. It’s been called the capital of the economic crisis for the nation.
“We’re famous for a lot of negative things,” he said. “This Thursday will be our chance to be in the news for a positive thing.”
To register for the eight-hour conference, call the Imperial Valley Small Business Development Center at 760-312-9800.
Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at email@example.com or 760-337-3441.