LOMPOC, Calif. --
With the unemployment rate in Lompoc higher than the entire Santa
Barbara County average, community members are banding together to create jobs.
The members are
launching their first business purely owned and operated entirely by workers.
These 18 local
leaders partnered to launch the city's first ever, eco-friendly cleaning service
through its job-creating cooperative after the co-op saw a huge need in Lompoc.
"The unemployment is
high," says member Pastor Chuck Arnold. "People need jobs and the idea of worker
owned co-ops is one that is growing in a national scope as well as
They are a motley crew
of pastors, workers, students, small business owners and educators raising funds
to empower workers and launch its first ever employee owned
"Green Boom Brigade,"
says Arnold. "The idea of green meaning ecologically sound so that cleaning
projects used by the worker owners will be non-toxic."
The group established
a co-op raising $45,000 which they will loan to the new start up and get repaid
once the Green Broom Brigade is on its feet.
Then they will use the
money to start up another company.
"Every business that
opens generates jobs and this is just a different way of doing it--worker owned
versus privately owned," says Mayor John Linn. "It's a great opportunity for a
bunch of people who are motivated to get into business
has interviewed four candidates to head the cleaning business and will announce
the manager this week.
The company is still looking for a location for the
business on the south side of town and they expect to open by February 1st.
"Any time you start a business, it's a little scary,"
says Arnold. "But one of the things that has really helped is the fact that
there has been wonderful support from the community."
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