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Thousands still needed to work during 2010 Games

Finding accommodation for workers in Sea to Sky corridor continues to be an issue




With only 127 days until the 2010 Olympics get under way thousands of jobs still need to be filled for Games times.

Amongst the workers needed are bus drivers, parking lot attendants, cooks, servers, cleaners, retails sales persons, those with specialized skills and the list goes on an on.

The jobs are with the scores of contractors hired to provide services to the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee (VANOC), as it gets ready to host the world. In all about 10,000 workers are needed to put on the Games.

"There are just so many jobs available," said Faye Halls, special projects manager for the Four Host First Nations, which has been hosting job fairs to match up workers and employers. The next job fair is open to everyone at Totem Hall in Squamish from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. today (Oct. 8).

"NBC is in desperate need of drivers," said Halls.

"And Sodexo (food services and facilities management at the athletes' villages), they are really in need of people."

Grant and Hilarie Cousar, owners of Whistler Cooks, won the contract to provide food services at both the Whistler Sliding Centre and Whistler Nordic Centre. That has meant more than doubling their staff to over 200.

"It has been going really quite well, but it is not a simple process to hire a large number like that," said Grant Cousar.

"It takes some time."

They decided to run their own job fair last month to make sure they were reaching out into the community.

"You need to reach out to them a little bit more and sit down and chat with them and so that gave us a larger audience so we can show them what is going on here," said Cousar.

"I'm not going to say this is not a lot of work and lots of days of rubbing my temples. But the whole crew is taking it on and it is absolutely the most exciting thing any of us have ever done."

Most of the jobs available for the Games are short term though some may turn into long-term employment with the larger contractors. Many begin in January and end with the closing of the Olympics Feb. 28. Some will run through the Paralympics as well, which start two weeks after the end of the Olympics.

And while this is a time of high unemployment, because the jobs are short contracts finding employees is challenging.

Sodexo is looking to hire 900 people to handle their contracts in food and beverage provision, and housekeeping and cleaning for the athletes' villages in Vancouver and Whistler.