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Express Employment planning to open office in Red Deer

One of North America’s biggest staffing agencies plans to set up shop in Red Deer.

Express Employment Professionals expects to open an office in the city by July or August, said Fred Muse, senior director of franchise development for the Oklahoma-based company.

“We see Red Deer as a very strong market for our kind of business.”

The local franchise will be locally owned, said Muse, and the sixth Express Employment office in Alberta. There are already three in Edmonton and two in Calgary, with others planned for the province.

“Alberta has been very strong for us,” he said. “It’s a fine growth market for Express.”

Founded in 1983, the company operates in the United States, Canada and South Africa. It has more than 680 offices, with about 35 in Canada — which Express Employment expanded into in 1996.

Express Employment provides temporary workers to its clients, said Muse.

It also offers an “evaluation hire” service, through which companies can try an employee for a period of time and then decide if they want to hire him or her permanently. And it recruits and screens prospective employees to fill specific needs for clients — such as professional positions.

“We can provide a variety of staffing services,” said Muse.

He thinks Express Employment can help employers who are struggling with Alberta’s tight labour market — including those trying to find scarce tradespeople.

“Through our strategic growth plan we’ll be looking for those certified welders and other semi- and higher-level skilled people that are needed in the market.”

The temporary workers it places with clients will remain employees of Express Employment. Muse said it will maintain a local database of vetted and qualified people, and doesn’t anticipate problems finding those individuals.

“There are people looking for work in all sorts of areas, or people who wish to change work and increase their opportunities.”

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