Workforce & Major Employers

The Santa Maria Valley continues to maintain a consistant manufacturing base as well as a significant amount of agriculture, which is the primary industry. Santa Maria has a trained, capable and ready workforce. Total non-farm employment and the creation of both farm and non-farm jobs in the Santa Maria Valley dominates the entire Northern Santa Barbara County labor market. Vandenberg Air Force Base, the largest employer in the region, plays an important role in the city’s economic engine, employing over 6,623 people.
The largest employers include medical, government, agriculture, and manufacturing companies. Retail is also an important sector of the local economy. Education and Health comprises half of the largest employers in Santa Maria.

Major Employers

Santa Maria Bonita School District 1724
Marian Medical Center 1450
C & D Zodiac Aerospace 1200
Allan Hancock College   890
Santa Maria Joint High School District   725
City of Santa Maria   647
Chumash Casino   605
Orcutt Union School District   586
Betteravia Farms   533
 VTC   340
Major military facilities nearby: Vandenberg Air Force Base with 6,623 workers

Workforce Profile

Unemployment Rate (Santa Maria)

Currently, 2014 – 9.1%

For the latest labor information and unemployment rates, please click here.

Current Employment by Industry Sector (Santa Barbara County)

Employment 2014
Industrial (Mining & Manufacturing) 13,400
Agricultural 20,200
Construction 7,200
Transportation, Communication & Utilities 27,600
Wholesale 4,600
Retail 19,900
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate 6,500
Services 23,400
Government 38,900
Health Care  & Social Assistance 21,100

Average Salary Per Worker

Employment 2011
Industrial (Mining & Manufacturing) 65,753
Agricultural 23,314
Construction 49,493
Transportation, Communication & Utilities 40,580
Wholesale 56,018
Retail 30,238
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate 76,402
Technical Services 76,145
Utilities 67,076
Real Estate and Rental and Leasing 37,839
Health Care & Social Assistance 48,647


Support Associations & Organizations

Workforce Resource Center

The Workforce Resource Center is a one-stop employment connection where numerous partner agencies have joined forces to assist job seekers in reaching employment goals by offering customized training, skill development, and business consulting to businesses, professional organizations and government agencies

Center for Employment Training

One of the country’s leading employment training programs, providing job training to improve the lives of the neediest members of the community – farm workers, high school dropouts, welfare mothers and immigrants.

Vocational Training Center

Vocational Training Center Enterprises offers vocational and independent living skills training and employment to people with mental and physical disabilities from Santa Maria and the Central Coast. In addition to rehabilitation services they offer a wide range of business products and services including catering services, packaging and duplicating, bulk mail services, promotional buttons, pallet and crate manufacture, grounds maintenance, and janitorial services.

Women’s Economic Ventures

Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) is dedicated to helping women throughout Santa Barbara County become economically self-sufficient through entrepreneurship and career development.


The SCORE Association (Service Corps of Retired Executives) is a resource partner of the Small Business Administration dedicated to entrepreneur education and the formation, growth and success of small businesses nationwide. Please call the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce for assistance with small businesses counseling and training.

Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration provides small business training and counseling through a variety of programs and resource partners. This training resource is a cooperative effort of the private sector, the educational community and federal, state and local governments.

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