RAYMONDVILLE — As many as 600 jobs are open at one of the biggest job fairs to come to this farming region struggling with one of Texas’ highest jobless rates.
SOG International, an organization opening a shelter to house more than 500 migrant children, is working with Workforce Solutions to hold at the job fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and tomorrow at the L.E. Franks Memorial Tourist Center in Raymondville.
The organization plans to open as many as 600 jobs including administrative, teaching and medical positions as well as youth care jobs.
Wages will start at about $12 to $14 an hour for youth care jobs while management and teaching positions will pay annual salaries of $40,000 to $50,000.
“That’s great — that’s a big amount of jobs,” Mayor Gilbert Gonzales said yesterday. “It’s going to be an economic boost for the community.”
Many positions will offer higher wages than local jobs paying the minimum wage in one of Texas’ poorest regions where the jobless rate hovers around 13 percent.
“There is a demand,” Mike Gonzalez, spokesman for Workforce Solutions, said. “This is a large-scale event. There’s a lot of variety of positions. There are a lot of administrative, school and child care-related types of jobs. We are constantly trying to provide employment opportunities for residents in the Willacy County area.”
Wayne Lowry, SOG International’s president and chief executive officer, said the organization will become the city’s biggest employer, offering more jobs than the Raymondville school district.
“One thing I learned from working in the nonprofit world is by and large people want to work,” Lowry said. “It’s a good feeling when you have the opportunity to provide people with an honest wage, allowing them to take care of their basic necessities and become homeowners.”
At Workforce Solutions, Gonzalez said job hunters should be ready to be interviewed for positions.
“Dress to impress. We want to make a great first impression,” he said, adding job hunters should bring 10 copies of their resume. “Practice your interviewing skills with someone you can speak freely with.”
The shelter, with a projected annual payroll of $20 million to $24 million, plans to open around December.
Weslaco-based SOG International will help staff the shelter while San Benito-based Sunny Glen Children’s Home will manage the operation at the site of a former 100,000-square-foot Walmart store just south of town at 14091 FM 490.
Sunny Glen is contracting with the federal government’s Office of Refugee Resettlement to house migrant children detained without parents or guardians in the United States.
The program is hailed as the city’s biggest economic boon in years in the area still reeling from the closure of the 3,000-bed Willacy County Correctional Center, which laid off 400 employees in early 2015.
Then in January 2016, the city’s Walmart Supercenter closed, laying off 149 employees.
What you should know
• SOG International is opening a shelter in Raymondville to house more than 500 migrant children
• 500 job openings include:
Youth care worker
• Wages: $12 to $14 an hour for youth care jobs; $40,000 to $50,000 for management and teaching positions
If you go
WHAT: SOG International Job Fair
WHEN: Today and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
WHERE: L.E. Franks Memorial Tourist Center, S. 7th St. in Raymondville