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Area businesses that might consider looking for talent within the Hertz Family Relocation Assistance Program is asked to visit SWFLWorks.org and click on the Hertz Family Relocation Assistance Program portal.

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More on Hertz moving headquarters to Lee County

A jobs website launched last week — intended to help the spouses of relocating Hertz workers find their own opportunity in Southwest Florida — eventually will be expanded to include other employers who recruit workers here, organizers said.

Southwest Florida Works and Lee County’s Economic Development Office this week launched the Hertz Family Relocation Assistance Program to help relocating spouses find work in the region.

Hertz is in the spotlight because the company’s plans to relocate its headquarters to Lee County with about 500 employees, but the same services are needed by other employers, said Janet Watermeier, chairwoman of the Workforce Task Force of the Horizon Council, Lee’s public/private economic development partnership.

“We are helping Hertz now, and then we are going to take that system and integrate it with our community leaders to reach out to other employers,” Watermeier said.

Hertz plans to start construction of a three-story headquarters building near the intersection of Williams Road and U.S. 41 in Estero in September. Then, senior employees will start moving from the company’s current headquarters in New Jersey to temporary offices in North Naples. Construction of the headquarters is expected to be completed in 2015.

About 700 people are expected to work at the headquarters. The company has brought about 240 employees here for tours to learn about the area before making the relocation decision.

The site now has surveys in place for relocating family members and for local employers who have job openings. For now, it’s more about assessing needs and expectations than finding specific candidates for certain jobs, said Peg Elmore, business service director for Southwest Florida Works and the lead organizer for the Family Relocation Initiative.

“They are not in job-hunting mode just yet,” Elmore said. “They are looking into the local area to see if it is even feasible for their families.”

Jim Moore, the director of Lee’s Economic Development Office, said employers have talked about the challenges posed by trailing spouses for years, and the Hertz relocation is the perfect catalyst to address it.

“We need to develop it and institute it for all employers,” Moore said.

Matt Chambers, president of Marine Concepts/JRL Ventures, a manufacturer based in Cape Coral, said employment for spouses isn’t typically a primary concern of workers he recruits, but an effort to address that is one less hurdle to overcome.

“Their concerns tend to be more about family issues like when the kids can see their grandparents, and I tell them they get to come to Florida,” Chambers said. “But, anything we can do to help existing employers is a good thing as far as I am concerned.”

Connect with Tim Engstrom
@TimEngstrom (Twitter)

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