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Bright spots in area job market: health care, IT

MANATEE — Health care, information technology, engineering, child care and education are some of the best sectors in the job market these days for people looking for work, according to local employment experts.

The Suncoast Workforce Board, which oversees Jobs Etc., is seeing job advertisements for health care workers for nursing homes, assisted living facilities and for certified nursing assistants.

Sally Hill, spokeswoman for the Suncoast Workforce Board, said there has also been a demand for child care positions in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

“We’re getting quite a few positions in daycare,” Hill said. “Other positions we’re seeing are project engineers and specialists, and computer aide technicians.”

Doug Arms, chief talent officer for Ajilon, a division of Adecco, a global staffing firm, said job seekers can continue to expect the areas of health care, technology, education and government to increase its workforce.

“These areas have confidence in their investment,” Arms said. “There’s hope around the stimulus package and how that might help.”

Florida is expected to get $13.4 billion over three years from the federal stimulus package. That is projected to create or save 206,000 jobs over the same time period.

“The unfortunate part is we’re not going to see the impact of that for quite a while, 2010 or even longer,” Arms said.

But local job seekers can currently find a few good paying positions through local government or education entities.

Manatee County, which is advertising for three positions, is hiring “based on the need in each department,” said Dale Garcia, senior human resources manager.

The county also has a number of temporary parks and recreation positions open for its summer camp.

“We are only taking applications for positions that are open,” Garcia said.

And, while the University of South Florida is in a hiring freeze, some positions are being filled.

At its Sarasota Manatee campus with 156 full-time positions, there is one faculty position open in information technology — a $63,000 salary. There also are adjunct teaching positions for the summer that are not posted on the university’s Web site, according to the human resource department.

University President Judy Genshaft has to approve all hirings that are considered necessary and an exception to the hiring freeze.

Manatee Memorial Hospital and Lakewood Ranch Medical Center have 31 positions combined that include openings for registered nurses, administrative work and management.

Bob Beck, president of Staffing Professionals, Inc. in Manatee County, said job openings remain low but the ones that do exist are mostly in middle management and high-level positions.

“We’re not seeing much activity on any of the lower level positions,” Beck said. “I think primarily what employers are doing is asking people to work harder and perhaps longer hours to cover for those people.”

Arms said those who are unemployed are going to have to work hard and have an open mind in their job search.

“People need to be aggressive in their job search and have flexibility in what they’re willing to do,” Arms said. “They have to look at positions they wouldn’t have considered in the past, industries they haven’t considered in the past.”