ALAMEDA, Calif. - While the Bay Area remains the world’s tech leader, there are lots of people still looking for more traditional types of jobs.
The US Postal Service expected to attract well over 200 job applicants at a job fair in Alameda Saturday.
With the nation's unemployment rate down to 3.6%, near pre-pandemic lows, jobs are still plentiful, but there’s a lot of competition to find workers.
The USPS is no exception but is managing to attract candidates.
By 11:30 a.m. Saturday, more than 130 people had arrived at the US Post Office in Alameda to inquire about a job, and there were more than two hours to go.
That number was on track to possibly match the 326 who showed up for the last job fair there about six months ago.
"I think we’re doing very well today. I think it’s great. I wasn’t too sure," said Mary Bream, who works in Human Resources for USPS. "We have it registered on Eventbrite and I think we’re going to have actually more than what registered."
One job seeker said she had been working in the video game industry but was looking to leave the desk for the outdoors.
"I applied for a job, the position is City Carrier," said Xuejie Song.
Postal Carrier is the job that often comes to mind when one thinks about the post office, but there are plenty of other positions that need to be filled.
"We’re hiring several hundred people, not just in my area, which is San Francisco, San Jose, all the way up to the Oregon border, but Sacramento, Oakland, and everything in between, everywhere," said Bream.
Sirvante Warrick said he is part of the great resignation and recently left a job. Now he is looking for something with stability and growth opportunities.
"I was a boom truck operator and I kind of liked the job, but it wasn’t feeling like something I wanted to dedicate for my life. There wasn’t too much room for opportunities and like growing in the company and stuff," said Warrick.
The Acting Postmaster of Oakland said if growth is what people want, the post office can deliver.
"When the opportunity comes, we usually promote within," said Sunil Chanan. "So, anybody you see in the job fair, Mary, me, or anybody you see, the majority of them used to be mail carriers or mail handlers or tractor-trailer operators."
Other job seekers say they’re looking for both tangible and intangible benefits that many other jobs do not offer, things like health insurance and stability.
"My grandmother used to work for USPS in Berkeley, so I was like, if my granny did it, I’ll do it too. But a lot of people, I’ve noticed a lot of people have been there for over five or ten years," said Shay Vell.
On-site managers said that in the next three to five years, more than a third of postal workers will be eligible to retire, so there will be plenty of opportunities in the foreseeable future.
The post office said it used the website Eventbrite to help get the word out and allow people to register for the fair.
But they also used something tried and true that some job seekers told us they received, a postcard in the mail.