At the job fair, the number of employers exceeds the number of job seekers Local news

Where are all the people?

The issue seemed to be on the tongues of many employers when they gathered for the first job fair of the Gettysburg and Adams County Chamber of Commerce at the Gettysburg Fire Department on Wednesday.

Twenty-five companies representing various industries have sent their representatives to a five-hour job fair, several promising entry bonuses, increased variable differential pay, faster pay start, and wages have increased by two to three dollars since early 2020. In an hour, the remaining, the fair was attended by 12 people.

Impatient employers are concerned that unemployment benefits offered for more than a year during the COVID-19 pandemic could prevent able-bodied workers from looking for work. But not everyone thought the workers were just staying home.

“None of us know the unemployed,” said Matt Mavery, director of operations at the Gettysburg Hotel. “Strange. Very strange. “

Offering jobs from $ 11 to $ 21 an hour, almost every business suffered from a shortage of staff 12-25 percent below the required workforce. Employers from the Gettysburg and Comfort Suites Gettysburg hotels had a staff of 50 percent.

Offering $ 20 to $ 21 per hour, which is the highest starting hourly rate of businesses represented at the fair, PCA packaging and display plant manager Staby Black said most of the 23 openings at the box factory were for the second or third changes.

At full capacity, the plant employs 182 hourly workers who can earn benefits such as health insurance and 401,000, Black said.

Prior to the pandemic, the company had piles of applications from experienced workers. Now businesses are happy to interview people who have virtually no experience, he said.

“We have people working 12 hours a day, and they’re tired of it,” Black said. “A lot of people don’t like to work on the weekends. The younger generation wants a balance between work and life, but production doesn’t work that way. We have customers for delivery. We work a lot on Saturdays. “

The company tried to give employees a break by changing their work schedule. However, keeping up with demand is difficult, Black said, adding that lead times have doubled.

“We lost a lot of smaller customers because we couldn’t supply them,” he said.

No industry at the fair has had more discoveries than hospitality. Sometimes ungrateful work can continue on holidays and weekends, Maverie said.

Travelers during one of the busiest summers in Gettysburg may have noticed less frequent or no sleep at all. The convenience, which typically includes replaced toiletries and garbage collection, has been eliminated to get rid of overworked staff, said Sarah Dahl, general manager of Comfort Suites.

She said hot breakfast buffets were limited to individually packaged items that did not require special preparation or cleaning.

“Our staff has undergone cross-training to help all departments and work virtually every shift,” Dall said, adding that she will work a six-day week from July 4 to Remembrance Day.

Compensation packages have been increased, hotel executives said. The Gettysburg Hotel offered summer bonuses to employees who stayed with the company during the busy season, Maverie said.

Comfort Suites offers inexperienced workers $ 11 an hour to get started. Since the pandemic, workers can earn $ 14 an hour by the end of the first year, Dahl said.

“It doesn’t seem to make any difference,” she said.

In some cases, the Gettysburg Hotel tried to contact former employees who worked there before closing. In most cases, they left or found another job, said Megan Werley, food and activities manager.

“Many people are starting to work in this industry at a fairly young age,” she said. “With the pandemic, some people took the opportunity to grow into office roles. I’m not sure high school and college kids end up on hospitality like they used to. ”

Gettysburg College is offering a $ 500 contingent bonus to fill 25 percent of household and kitchen vacancies, and students have helped fill in some gaps, said Deb Haydock, deputy director of lunch service. Employees also work overtime, and others have intervened in a strange way, she said.

“We had volunteers from the campus community who sometimes helped serve during lunch,” Haidok said. “They serve or wash the tables. It was very interesting, but very much appreciated. “

The understanding of the work teams and the solid teamwork supported some of the youth centers afloat.

Beth Joseph, a HR specialist with Hoffman Homes, said the nonprofit, which serves young people with emotional and behavioral issues, is looking to hire 20 to 30 employees to recruit a full 180 employees.

The employee must be 21 years old, have a driver’s license, a high school or university degree, and state and national licenses. Direct care positions start at $ 14 per hour for round-the-clock services. Bonuses are available for overtime changes, she said.

“We often have a shortage of staff due to the physical demands of the job, but it’s higher than usual,” she said.

The shortage combined with the required ratio of one employee to five children has led to a large number of overtime hours for some employees. But it’s a delicate balance that requires more work from people on the verge of burnout, she said.

“We meet with this when it means we are hiring therapists or other staff to help,” she said. “In order to pass, you need to work a lot together as a team.”

Representatives of the Abraxas Youth Center were looking for up to 40 entry-level staff to train, manage and supervise the youth living on their campus. The position comes with medical, dental, visual and training care, said Megan Saiger, a recruiter.

Most entry-level positions start at $ 17 an hour with a conditional $ 2,000 entry bonus, she said. The bilingual section starts at $ 22 an hour. The work begins with a three-week orientation.

“Our location seems to be holding back some people,” she said, referring to the South Mountain campus.

Addressing the unique challenges of rural communities requires finding transportation, affordable housing and economic incentives for employees, said Adams County Chamber of Commerce President Carrie Stewart.

“If people don’t work here, the county will continue to reduce the number of services and products available,” she said. “There is still something to work on. We must keep trying. “

* Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Gettysburg College offered $ 14 an hour to fill positions in the canteen and farm.

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