By Terri Lynn Oldham House
Are you unemployed?
Looking for a job?
Just about everywhere you look in Pagosa Country, there is a shortage of workers.
According to CNN, “Many workers that went home when the pandemic hit haven’t returned to shipyards, factories or construction sites, hitting production and stalling projects. Even Michelin-starred eateries and Wall Street banks say they can’t hire enough people to meet their needs.”
Some local businesses have had to cut operating hours in order to not overwork the staff they are fortunate to have.
Local businesses are offering sign-on bonuses and other generous packages.
The Springs Resort made a huge investment in their employees by renovating a property to provide housing units for staff.
Now, The Springs Resort is offering a $200 monthly housing allowance for full-time associates. Package that with holiday pay, paid time off, hotel room discounts, free soaking privileges for associates and their immediate family, sick pay, 401K benefits with a company match, and top that all off with a $300 signing bonus. However, that isn’t all. They also offer insurance including medical, prescription, vision and dental.
Club Wyndham is offering a $500 hiring bonus along with free passes and discounts on recreation, travel discounts for friends and family, discounts on local gym memberships, paid time off, paid leave, full benefits package and insurance discounts.
Pagosa Springs Medical Center is advertising for several positions. Full-time positions include a sign-on bonus starting at 5 percent of the annual salary, paid time off, health insurance plans with medical, dental and vision, options for health savings account and a 401A retirement plan and optional 457 plan.
Archuleta School District has several openings including assistant finance director, assistant principal and athletic director, several teaching positions, cheer coach, crossing guards, bus drivers, bus aides, substitutes and more.
We counted 96 help wanted ads in this week’s SUN. There are a wide variety of job openings in just about every field you can imagine: landscaping, kitchen help, automotive painter, tax preparer, pressroom assistant, route driver, teachers, loan officer, journalist, liquor store clerk, maintenance position, bar help, front desk, line/prep cooks, cleaning staff, advertising and business development specialist, servers and dishwashers, bookkeepers, cashiers, equipment operators, laborers, cultivation help, administrative assistant, ranch help, truck driver, construction help, seasonal help, laundry attendant, lumberyard help, customer service positions, caregiver, business support position, sales associate, massage therapist, dental hygienist, appraiser, detentions officer, patrol deputy, service tech, electricians and electrician helpers, program director, housekeepers, office manager, flaggers, carpenters, medical staff, concrete workers, HVAC help and many more.
You could attribute the employee shortage to fear of COVID-19 and not wanting to be exposed to the virus. Some people left the workforce when everything shut down. Others found jobs they could do from home. Some people chose to retire. Others feel that unemployment benefits are too high and people are being paid not to work.
The shortage of affordable housing for the local workforce plays a big role in the lack of employees.
It’s definitely a job-seeker’s market. If you are one of those seekers, flip to the back of The PREVIEW to read this week’s latest help wanted ads and start applying.
If you’re retired and want to help out with the local workforce crisis, you will find plenty of local businesses happy to have you join the working world, again.
If you are a new college or high school graduate, the opportunities are plentiful.
While the workforce shortage continues, please be patient when you patronize local businesses and be understanding that the employees are most likely doing the very best that they can to serve you. Expect delays and don’t hold it against service employees who are working for tips. Some things are just out of our control.