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MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. – When Kinecta Federal Credit Union was Hughes Aircraft Federal Credit Union, a survey showed the diverse demographic profile of employees closely matched that of the sponsoring company. In July 2001 the credit union launched its new name, but the commitment to reflecting the diversity of 200,000 members remains. So the Los Angeles-area Diversity Career Fair in mid-October was again on the agenda of the KFCU Human Resources staff. An estimated 3,000 people looking to find a job or further their careers attended. With the economy still struggling, one would expect few employers would find it necessary to participate. But space in the Radisson Hotel at Los Angeles International Airport was sold out, with the number of exhibitors up 76% compared to 2002. Jobseekers scanned the alphabetic list of more than 60 companies found names ranging from The Aerospace Corporation to Jet Propulsion Laboratory to Wal-Mart. Among the companies exhibiting was Kinecta FCU. Sylvia LeNoir, KFCU recruitment and employment specialist, noted the credit union has participated for the last three years. “It is truly a diversity job fair. It’s centrally located near the airport and we get candidates from every racial and ethnic background. We get some good quality candidates,” LeNoir said. The three-person KFCU recruiting team talked to 250 to 300 prospects. Candidates were invited to e-mail a resume to the credit union or stop in to fill out a job application. Fifty resumes have been submitted so far. Toni Daniels, senior vp of human resources development, explains each year the credit union reviews its employee statistics and plans recruitment activities for the following year. “I don’t want to make it sound as though we target certain ethnic groups,” Daniels said. “We have been very fortunate in managing to recruit and retain a very diverse workforce, even in the years when we weren’t actively pursuing affirmative action. Now it’s just a little more structured.” In addition to advertising job openings in newspapers and on the Internet, KFCU stages its own job fairs and participates in others. But the Diversity Career Fair plays a key role. This year the timing was ideal for KFCU. The event was held on Columbus Day, a holiday for many financial institutions. That made it easy for employees with appropriate background looking for job opportunities to attend. In addition, there weren’t a lot of financial institutions there, which helped the credit union stand out. “Of course we always look for folks who have financial institution or customer service background,” LeNoir said. “Our member service positions are always a priority. Then we have lending and collections positions we need to fill right now.” With high unemployment rates still a concern, is it difficult to find good candidates or are people lining up to apply? “It depends very much on the position,” Daniels said. “Years ago, for example, we had a tough time staffing our call center. I think that’s a challenge for any company that has a call center because it’s typically a high turnover area. “We’ve done a lot of work to improve the working environment and find people with the right characteristics. We’ve brought call center turnover down to almost nothing and we’ve learned how to recruit those people. “We do a pretty good job regardless of the (employment) market. But even when the job market is bad there are still positions that are hard to fill, for example collections.” KFCU, Daniels continued, faces another challenge – its Manhattan Beach location. It’s an expensive area. Median income in Manhattan Beach is $101,606, compared to $42,189 for Los Angeles County as a whole. The average home price is $904,500, tenth highest in the nation. People seeking affordable housing don’t want to drive 20 or 30 miles on the Los Angeles freeways to get to work. In fact, the credit union is currently studying whether to move some operational areas to another LA area for the sake of recruitment. – [email protected]

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