Colorado Springs lagging in job creation, mayor says
Mayor asks City Council to stop 'petty politics,' work harder on economy
Creating jobs was a campaign promise of Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach, but he says the city is far behind other regional cities in that regard.
During his regular media briefing this week, Bach said the city created 1,700 jobs since 2001. However, Bach said other cities in the region -- especially those similar in size to Colorado Springs -- have fared much better.
Albuquerque, which created 10,000 jobs; Omaha, with 27,000; and Oklahoma City, with 56,000; are cities Bach mentioned as having more success in attracting jobs.
"Even Des Moines, a city we're often compared to and with whom we often compete for jobs, has created 45,000," said Bach. "We have high unemployment, and we're stuck in an economy that's not going anywhere."
Bach said he and the City Council should work harder to improve the local economy.
"(We) should be working full time on (it) and getting our people back to work -- not micromanaging and continuing to go through power struggles and petty politics," Bach said, referring to the council's vote this week seeking to reduce Bach's control over the city's budget.
Bach has said that his City For Champions proposal, which includes building a sports facility and Olympic museum downtown, would jump-start the local economy by creating 1,000 jobs and attracting 1 million new visitors annually.
More tourism jobs are what Mike Guglielmo wants to see. He's a waiter who's unsuccessfully searched for a job in his career field since 2008.
"I take money out of savings to pay my bills sometimes," he said. "Colorado Springs has its own character. It has to develop that character; develop an identity. There are so many events, activities and attractions here that people don't know about. Someone needs to promote that."
However, the final budget approved by the City Council this week reduces funding to the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Meanwhile, Traci Marques, of the Pikes Peak Workforce Center, said the area has around 2,000 job openings but that many of them are considered undesirable because they are in retail, food service and customer service, which traditionally don't pay well.
"With many openings, it's also hard to match them with people who have the required skills," she said. "Such as human resources, even construction. Times have changed. If you've been looking for your ideal job for a long time, you should consider taking something different while you look. Especially if your unemployment (money) is about to run out."
Guglielmo was at the center on Thursday searching for his ideal job. He said he was a probation officer and has a master's degree in forensic psychology. He has taken Marques' advice to be flexible in his search.
"I really want to work with kids, but I don't have any formal experience with that," he said. "I get interviews, but get told, 'Sorry.'"
Guglielmo said if he doesn't find an ideal job soon, he'll be forced to move back to his home state of Connecticut.