Help wanted: businesses face challenge of finding workers

Updated: Apr. 19, 2021 at 7:01 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - New York continues to open up and, as of Monday, bars and restaurants can stay open an extra hour.

But now there’s another challenge that presents itself: finding people to work.

The WorkPlace Executive Director Cheryl Mayforth says the pandemic has taken people out of work and it has been a challenge to get them back.

Mayforth says people have been staying home and collecting unemployment benefits. Plus, with hybrid-learning schedules in schools, many parents are helping their kids learn from home.

Mayforth says we have been in a labor shortage for years, but it has become more severe because of the pandemic.

“We’re not sure how to bring people in, but what I want to say is, for individuals who find themselves unemployed, is don’t wait until this extra unemployment runs out. Look for these good jobs today,” she said.

Some of those businesses are about to open their doors for the season during a time when not a lot of people are willing to work. One of them is a restaurant by the St. Lawrence River, where the tourism industry is getting creative to get people hired.

The tables are set nd the bar is full, but there’s one thing the Clipper Inn is short on as the season begins: employees.

“It was in my head that this was going to be a tougher year,” said Michael Simpson, general manager.

With people receiving unemployment checks from the pandemic, some people aren’t willing to go out and work.

“The unemployment supplement from the federal government has made it pretty lucrative for some positions and some folks to not actually go back to work,” said Thousand Islands International Tourism Director Corey Fram.

Going into this season along the river, Fram says it’s expected to be busy as people look to get out and travel.

But more business and fewer employees are like oil and water.

“I’m afraid what’s going to happen is we’re going to see limited business hours, where businesses can’t staff up to full-time, so they’ll have to cut back on certain hours or certain low traffic days,” said Fram.

Sometimes a help wanted sign on the front door just won’t get the job done. So businesses like the Clipper Inn are getting creative and turning to social media.”

“You can post things on Facebook, but I think the most effective way to get something out there that people will see or listen to, it’s got to be a video,” said Simpson.

He says he has gotten calls and applications since the videos have been posted and he’s confident that, by opening day on Friday, Captain Clipper will be greeting guests five days a week.

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