Kern County's oil production is coming back after years of slow growth. And, service companies like Kenai Drilling are feeling the growing pains.
The company is in the midst of a hiring spree, but Human Resources Coordinator, Jay Mercer, said there aren't enough local applicants to fill the jobs.
"Experienced people are very difficult to find so that means we're not the only oil service company looking for qualified people," Mercer said.
Kenai operates drilling rigs that require a lot of manpower. In the last two years, the company has added 120 jobs. Mercer said Kenai is willing to train if you have the right qualifications. The money is also a big draw.
"For a young man that is motivated and has discipline, to hire on with a drilling contractor, I think you can make $40,000 to $50,000 a year," Roy Smith, Kenai Drilling Supervisor, said.
William Moss is a pump operator for Hathaway LLC, a local oil producer. He has a background in construction, but said his work ethic got him hired.
"The majority of it is on-the-job training especially if you lack prior experience," Moss said. "If you come in, you are going to gain a lot of knowledge in oil."
His boss, Chad Hathaway, said he's looking for qualified people and his company is growing quickly.
"We produce heavy oil," Hathaway said. "We started out with five wells and made about six barrels a day. Now, we are producing 600 barrels a day and we are close to 76 wells."
But, more than skilled labor, Hathaway said he's looking for people with technical talent, just like Kenai.
"We've home-grown a lot of labor-based talent and created a lot of jobs because we have a lot of hard working people in Kern County," Hathaway said. "But, a lot of the technical people have to come from out of town."
On Thursday, Career Services Center is having on-the-job training for anyone interested in oil industry construction jobs. For more information call 325-HIRE.