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Bakersfield, California is a large city of over 375,000 (with a metropolitan area of over 500,00) located in the southern part of the state. It is centrally located roughly 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles and roughly 135 miles east of the Pacific Ocean by automobile. More specifically, Bakersfield is located in the San Joaquin Valley along the approximately 165-mile long Kern River. The San Joaquin Valley is one of the two valleys that make up California’s Central Valley, which extends northwest over 400 miles from the Tehachapi Mountains on the south to the city of Redding and Lassen Volcanic National Park on the north. Thanks to a long growing season, abundant sunshine, hot summers, and ample runoff from the snowpack in majestic Sierra Nevada mountains that border the area on the east, California’s vast Central Valley is one of the world’s most productive agricultural areas. Bakersfield is the seat for and the largest city in Kern County. Kern County encompasses some 8,000 square miles, and stretches from the Mojave Desert and the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains on the east and to counties bordering the Pacific Ocean on the west.Oil and Gas Industry
Bakersfield is sometimes called the Oil Capitol of California. Indigenous people first used asphalt, oil that has been altered by exposure to the air, taken from oil seeps and tar pits roughly 13,000 years ago. The first oil wells in the area were drilled in 1877. By 1901, Kern County was producing twice the crude oil of Los Angeles County, which previously had been California’s largest oil producing county. Since that time numerous oil fields have been established in the area. Kern County produces roughly 70% of the oil in California. According to one source, about one in seven workers in Kern County works in the oil and gas industry or a business associated with the industry. Some independent oil companies are headquartered in Bakersfield. The oil and gas industry pays somewhere around $197 million in property taxes annually, which greatly helps support local government services. Kern County has about 47,000 active oil wells. The oil and gas industry provides a large variety of jobs opportunities, with a wide range of pay.Agriculture
Bakersfield is sometimes called the Breadbasket of the West. Kern County is consistently rated as one of the top five agricultural producing counties in the nation. The rural areas surrounding Bakersfield are filled with pistachio and almond orchards, citrus groves, as well as vineyards and vegetable, hay, and alfalfa fields. The dairy and cattle industries are also major employers in the area. An estimated 170,000 jobs in Kern County are related to agriculture.Wind and Solar Energy
A United States Geological Survey found that Kern County has more power-generating wind turbines than any other county in the nation. The Tehachapi-Mojave wind corridor has more than 5,000 wind turbines, which produce roughly 1.3 million megawatts each year. As with the oil and gas industry, jobs in wind energy tend to pay more than the average for the area.
The sunny climate of Bakersfield and surrounding areas are also ideal for the generation of solar energy. The Catalina Solar Project, located on a 1,100 acre plot in eastern Kern County, is the eighth biggest photovoltaic plant in the world.
Bakersfield has an average of 272 sunny days per year. Consequently, solar panel installation is big business in Bakersfield, providing employment for many people.Education
California State University, Bakersfield serves around 11,000 students and has total faculty and staff of about 1,300. Bakersfield College serves around 15,000 students and has around 800 fulltime employees. Bakersfield’s various school districts are also major area employers. The education field employs more than 14,000 people in Bakersfield.Healthcare
Bakersfield is home to about eight hospitals. Around 1,600 healthcare workers in Bakersfield are members of the union, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West. The healthcare and social assistance field employs more than 23,000 people in Bakersfield.Construction
The construction field employs more than 13,000 people in Bakersfield. Bakersfield has one of the most affordable housing markets in California.Transportation and Warehousing/Distribution
Meadows Field/Bakersfield Airport is an employment magnet. Bakersfield and its environs are also home to several distribution hubs.Tourism
Bakersfield features sizable tourism and hospitality industries. Bakersfield, while known for its Basque restaurants, features a wide range of dining experiences. The city is the home of the Bakersfield Museum of Art, the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History, the California Living Museum, and the Kern County Museum. Rafting expeditions on the Kern River are a popular area activity. Other area attractions include the Murray Family Farms, the Kern River County Park, and Kern River State Park.The Bakersfield Sound
The Bakersfield Sound refers to a strain of country music that evolved in the area beginning in the 1950s. Forged by such music legends as Buck Owens and Meryl Haggard, the Bakersfield Sound typically featured the use of electric instruments, and a stiped-down approach inspired by honky-tonk and rock and roll bands. Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield is now a major country music venue. Other music venues include the Rabobank Arena, the Dignity Health Amphitheatre, and the Fox Theater.State Services
The Division of Workers’ Compensation has a district office in Bakersfield. Workers who sustain injuries while on the job may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)—the state agency responsible for enforcing California’s civil rights laws, including the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), California Government Code sections 12900 – 12996, has an office in Bakersfield. Workers who have been discriminated against by their employer based on Physical Disability, Race, or other protected characteristics may hire an experienced employment law attorney. Such an attorney would obtain a Right to Sue from the DFEH before filing a lawsuit in civil court.Contact Us
The attorneys at Kokozian Law Firm, APC practice employment law and represent workers throughout Bakersfield, Kern County, and surrounding areas. If you believe your employer or former employer has violated your rights, call the experienced employment law attorneys at Kokozian Law Firm, APC or Contact Us via our online form.