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The Great Resignation prompts locals to learn new skills and shift careers

Work stress
Posted at 8:18 AM, Feb 04, 2022

Living on the Central Coast is certainly paradise for many, but it also comes at a cost.

KSBY News’ ‘Price of Paradise’ series shines a light on the financial challenges we’re facing and works together to come up with solutions.

During the pandemic, a record number of Americans decided they wanted something different and walked away from a guaranteed paycheck in what has become known as ‘The Great Resignation.’

Now, some people are re-entering the workforce – armed with new skills – with hopes of making more money while pursuing their passions.

With the pandemic turning so many businesses upside down, workers have had to adjust, especially in industries hit the hardest - like hospitality and retail.

Many business owners saw a negative impact to their bottom line, often leading to layoffs.

Royce Ferriday is a former retail worker who went through a training program at SLO Partners to switch careers. He is now an Engineering Technician at ES Aero.

“I was working at Whole Foods for about 8 months and I kind of got fed up and I really just wanted a change,” said Ferriday.

Ferriday is one of many people using the pandemic as an opportunity to rethink their career goals and move in a new direction.

Hiring experts and economists are calling this trend ‘The Great Resignation.”

Paula Mathias-Fryer, Director at SLO Partners is seeing this shift with local applicants..

“It could be people who have really reconsidered their careers and what they really want to do and use Covid-19 as an opportunity for rethinking what they want to do and following a passion,” said Mathias-Fryer.

The Department of Labor reported that 4.5 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs in November.

“People are resigning but they are also hiring and they are also finding new opportunities so businesses have a new talent pipeline that they can use in the Great Resignation,” said Mathias-Fryer.

The influx of diverse resumes is pushing companies to think outside the box, such as considering candidates who lack the training, but have the drive.

Mathias-Fryer explains, “It can be an opportunity for businesses if they think about it the right way. On their resume they might not have ten years of experience that you’re looking for, but do they have other attributes to bring to the table.”

SLO-based company, ES Aero, designs and manufactures electric and hybrid aircraft.

ES Aero Manufacturing Lead, Tony Cash, says their company’s growth is exciting, as well as the new opportunities that people are trying to take on. “ES Aero is one big family and we are growing so we are going to be doing a lot of hiring and our growth is bringing a lot of people in,” said Cash.

Cash hopes to bring in more candidates, like Ferriday.

“I’ve been here for about 4 months. For the most part, I am helping engineers with their projects and I think it’s a really enjoyable worthwhile experience,” said Ferriday.

“People are rethinking - what are my passions, what am I doing now? How much am I earning? People can upskill and go into those jobs that are available in our county and really it’s a win-win for everybody,” said Mathias-Fryer.

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