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The Professionals Guide


Jobs. We all want them. Hell, we all need them. But as of late, the employment landscape has changed. With just about everybody and their cat going to college nowadays, the evidence in Boulder County (and beyond) is pointing at a shortage in laborers and purveyors of the traditional skills (plumbing, carpentry, electrical work, etc). The reasons for this are many. Our culture has seen elements of misplaced snobbery creep in – the mindset that if you were to not go to college and instead complete an apprenticeship, you’re wasting your life, you’re less-than.J

By Brett Callwood and Ryan Howe

Of course, we all want what is best for our kids. But that fact is that, if everyone is getting a Bachelors degree, then suddenly that’s the norm and the Master’s degree becomes the sought after qualification. But everybody is going after them too, so what? A PhD is the minimum. Pretty soon, we’ll have a nation of doctors.
It’s all making a nonsense of the whole thing because the truth is, electricians, plumbers, carpenters – all of these and many more are noble professions. And as each year passes, as technology continues to develop at a startling rate, the pool of unwanted job grows.

CADCO is a Louisville-based company that does computer aided design (CAD) for architects and engineers. Ronda Grassi is the president of the 19-year-old company, and she says that they’re seriously struggling to hire the right people. “We need CAD operators, people who understand 3D modeling for mechanical engineers, 3D modeling for civil engineers,” she says.
Grassi also says that she has no idea why people are turning away from this technology. “Even the tech schools don’t seem to be putting out applicants,” she says. “We’ve put out to them directly to say let me know who’s in your graduating class, we might have opportunities for them. I think one of them even stopped doing the classes. It’s taught on an engineering level, but those kids with those skills coming out of college want to be engineers.”
So what are the solutions? “I think there’s a need,” Grassi says. “We even do some in-house training to solve our own problem and teach them what we need them to know. It’s quite a learning curve – it can take three to six months to get them up to speed. We’re hiring though – we’re looking now for CAD operators.”

As we approach the holiday season, it stands to reason that Target will be hiring. For the third year in a row, they say, Target plans to hire an additional 70,000 team members for the holiday season.
“As we have in the past, we’ll work with our existing team members across the country to offer them additional hours first,” says Tina Tyler, chief stores officer. “Then, we’ll bring in about 70,000 team members to help us through the exciting and busy season. The work we do together will help bring the holidays to life for the millions of guests who visit our Target stores.”
The mega-store is looking or people to unload the trucks, stock the shelves, and set up festive signs and displays in the stores. “They’ll also help our guests find the perfect gifts, home décor, menu items, and everything else they need to make their holidays magic.”
Let’s face it, it’s kinda like being Santa.

Google announced at the end of 2014 that it was planning to triple its office space and quintuple its number of employees in Boulder. The plans include three new buildings, so the rehires would be split in three.
“We currently have 300-plus employees at Google Boulder, and what we want is the ability to grow in the future,” Scott Green, director of Google’s Boulder operations, told the Denver Post.
“Historically, we’ve grown at a fairly rapid clip. We’ve had great success at attracting good talent in Boulder, and we don’t want the space to be a constraint.”
“Our operation has been in Boulder for a long time,” said Green. “It’s a good place to attract technical talent. The community supports things Google supports.”
That prompted Governor Hickenlooper to say that, “Colorado is always excited to see businesses expand here, from startups to the largest companies in the world. The fact that anyone anywhere can ‘Google’ this announcement right now makes this news even more special.”
Amanda Dufresne is the technical recruiter for Google. “We hire people who love to code and who love to problem solve,” Dufresne told Bizjournals. “We’re not actually looking for one specific skill set. We look for people who love to be engineers and to solve hard problems… “In Boulder, Denver, and in Colorado as a whole, we have great engineering talent, and we’re pretty excited to keep tapping into that.”
Jobs at places like Google will always be in high demand from college grads, while companies like CADCO struggle. Companies looking to hire manual laborers have even greater problems, with potential employeers looking for more and more money. Indirectly, companies like Google are affecting this due to the ever-rising cost of living in Boulder and Boulder County. Mary Young of the City Council told CNN that she’s warty of Boulder becoming a Silicon Mountain, “referencing the high cost of living in Silicon Valley.”
She’s right to be worried, and it’s going to affect everything. Who can afford to work for low wages. “A city can lose its feel easily in a decade, and I already see that happening in Boulder. Google is really poised to exacerbate this,” said Allison Davis in a letter to the Daily Camera.
“These are good problems to have,” said Councilman Sam Weaver, “but they can have real negative impacts on economic diversity if you’re not careful.”

The Uber revolution is one that can’t be ignored. The car service has been a revalation for people looking for a reasonably priced means to get home after a few drinks, and also for people looking to make a few bucks relatively easily during their spare time. The business has taken off and, unsurprisingly, the Boulder office is looking to hire.
Drivers can always apply, and they’re also looking for admin staff, recently asking for people who are, “comfortable juggling media requests, urgent VIP client inquiries, four events and three new hires all at the same time? Good. Cause that’s an average day here at Uber. We’re looking for an administrative mastermind to manage a brand new and growing office. Reporting directly to the Group Engineering Manager and working with a small and dedicated team you’ll be able to step in and have immediate impact because, well, there’s a ton of work to do. As a fast growing start-up every role is on call, so clock-watchers need not apply. This role is best suited for someone who can juggle all the above and keep smiling.”
It has now been over a year since Uber arrived in Boulder as well as Fort Collins, stating on their website that, “We’re now covering more of Colorado than ever before, from Fort Collins to The Springs, Uber users can snag a ride all along the Front Range. Whether you’re cheering on your Buffs or Rams, tasting some of America’s best craft brews, or exploring the foothills, let Uber be your ride.”
“Boulder is such a unique market in that it’s so progressive, so on the cutting-edge,” said Will McCollum, general manager for Uber’s operations in Denver. “People live close to where they play, but on the other end, that makes it more challenging for a company like Uber to connect rides.”

For many years, IBM has been on of Boulder’s top employers. That’s a hard task considering the amount of new companies flooding into Boulder, and not to mention the booms in different markets such as brewing companies or recreational marijuana. But, IBM is continually the top dog when it comes to supplying jobs to our local community.
In 2013, IBM employed roughly 2,800 people on their 500 acre complex with 2.5 million square feet of space in more than 26 buildings and incorporating 350,000 square feet of raised floor data center space, located between Boulder and Niwot along the Diagonal Highway.
Globally, IBM does, well, a lot. No longer selling computers after they sold their PC division to Lenovo in 2005, the company is still prospering. Technology is still a huge part of what they do, however, as they are the world’s largest information technology (IT) company, and the world’s largest consulting organization, with people in more than 160 countries working on services, software, hardware, research and financing.
“We exited commoditizing businesses like personal computers, and hard disk drives, years ago, and strengthened our position through strategic investments and acquisitions in emerging higher-value segments. In addition, IBM transformed itself into a globally integrated enterprise, which has improved our overall productivity and is driving investment and participation in the world’s fastest growing markets. As a result, IBM is a higher-performing enterprise than it was several years ago,” IBM wrote on its website.
In 2012, the company’s revenue maxed out at $104.5 billion with a net income of $16.6 billion.
It’s no surprise that IBM in Boulder is currently trying to fill four positions, ranging from non-diploma positions to preferred bachelor degree positions.
It’s rare that large companies hire persons without a high school diploma or GED, but IBM’s business development executive is one of those rare occasions.
The job post boasts that, “the Business Development Executive (BDE) will be responsible for the identification and qualification of new Global Business Services (GBS) Application Development and Innovation (AD&I) opportunities, within the Telecommunications Sector, in North America.”
However, to be even considered for the position applicants must have five years experience in senior business development role, client executive relationship development, and industry knowledge. They must also be willing to travel up to four days a week and speak an intermediate amount of English. Of course, the more experience the better and IBM prefers 10 years or more.
The remaining three jobs, service desk analyst, senior service desk analyst, and service desk team lead, only require a high school diploma or GED and at least 1-3 years experience at a call center.
Although IBM is one of the top employers in Boulder County, it only received 2.4 out of 5 stars from employees on glassdoor.com. Out of the 132 reviews, only three give the company five stars.
A current employee bragged about his or her work life listing a number of pros, “flexibility, vision of leadership, variety of opportunities; company’s focus on improving how we collectively manage global resources. IBM engourages volunteerism and philanthropy, as well as a sincere desire to serve clients.”
His or her only con listed was the global competition and maintaining visibility among “430K employees.”
On the other hand, another employee’s only con was that he got to work with a company that is “transitioning to a better future.” But his cons list was much more in depth reading, Overworked, underpaid, and managment/leadership does not care about the contractors not the other IBMers that work underneath then There is a glass ceiling for all races, genders, sexes, etc for EVERYONE to break through as far as advancing your career No time given to take the IBM endorsed course that could give you the skills you need to advance Many people hear your ideas, concerns, or suggestions but do not do an…”
IBM is an equal opportunity employer and “all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. IBM is also committed to compliance with all fair employment practices regarding citizenship and immigration status.”
There’s a lot of information here, but it all comes done to this: Boulder County residents are blessed because there are all types of jobs on offer here. Big corporations are hiring, as are locally owned small businesses. There are executive and techy positions out there, as well as work for laborers. It’s all here. Are we a little spoiled as a result? Perhaps. Young people who are out of work certainly shouldn’t feel “above” certain types of employment because of their parents’ stature. It’s kind if a nice problem to have though, huh?

10 local companies that have been hiring recently

Fisher Automotive
6025 Arapahoe Rd, Boulder

Red Bull
(Boulder merchandiser)
3975 Monaco Pkwy, Denver

Boulder Bodyworks
1301 Yellow Pine Ave, Boulder

1535 Spruce St, Boulder

Ball Aerospace
1600 Commerce St, Boulder

ECOS Environmental
4525 N. Broadway, Boulder

6300 Diagonal Hwy, Boulder

Whole Foods
2905 Pearl St., Boulder

Creative Alignments
4760 Walnut St, 3106, Boulder

Butterfly Pavilion
6252 W 104th Ave, Westminster


Brett Calwood
Brett Callwood is an English journalist, copy writer, editor and author, currently living and working in Los Angeles. He is the music editor with the LA Weekly. He was previously a reporter at the Longmont Times-Call and Daily Camera, the music editor at the Detroit Metro Times and editor-in-chief at Yellow Scene magazine. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brett_Callwood

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