Businesses in the Jacksonville area face challenges of hiring new employees more than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic began – Action News Jax
Jacksonville, FL. – Operating during a pandemic has been a time unlike any other for our local businesses. But – when we get closer to the normal, they face a new challenge: the attitude.
Action News Jax Courtney Cole went to Jacksonville Beach to speak with owner Ed Malin about his experience running his business during the pandemic. He told Cole when the pandemic started the main problem was figuring out how to stay open safely.
Now that he’s under control, he said his biggest problem is making sure they have enough staff to serve new and loyal customers.
“It got better over time. It’s still tough. Not so much with the pandemic itself, but with employment, ”Malin explained.
He owns Angies Subs on Beach Boulevard and Angies Grom on 3rd Street South.
“I’m blessed right now with a great crew that shows up every day and has a great work ethic. They strive to be part of a team,” said Malin.
Even as a staple in the community where many newcomers are hired, the local business owner said it was the hardest part for him to find employees in his 20 years.
“We get some of this – where we hire someone to show up for a day who never comes back. I think a lot of that has to do with unemployment benefits. So there’s a fight and I’ve talked to every restaurant owner on the beach and we all have the same problems, ”Malin told Action News Jax.
According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity:
- In February there were 474,000 unemployed Floridians out of 10,124,000 workers. That is 4.7% who were unemployed nationwide.
- That’s compared to Duval County, where 4.2% of the 490,191 people were unemployed.
“We spend about $ 80 to $ 100 a week advertising in various locations to find employees. There has been an upward trend in the past few weeks. We got some great responses. I’ve reached out to some of the local churches. They have turned to their youth groups. So we have some great people there, ”said Malin.
When Cole asked what he thought could be done to improve things, he suggested that steps should be taken to create incentives to be a productive member of society.
As more people become vaccinated and open to application and training opportunities, a Tallahassee legislature is working to make these opportunities easy for you to access.
While the hotel industry is looking for staff to hire, if that isn’t exactly your gig, State Representative Clay Yarborough has been working on House Bill 1507. He said it will reshape Florida’s workforce development system.
“How can we ensure that we are really helping the consumer, the job seeker, the worker, the student who may be graduating from a technical school or high school, or whatever you have to find work, as well keep their jobs, ”said Yarborough.
Representing part of Duval County, he told Cole that this legislation he sponsored is about helping people find employment, but also helping them keep it.
“When you think of any number of technical schools we have, you can say Tulsa Welding School or choose another program that is kind of a stand-alone technical school. Or, you can have any number of programs at our Florida College System facilities that prepare students and participants for the workforce. We have a lot out there. So we want to find out which potential or current employees who are trying to train for something else are offering them and which are really offering them the best value for their investment, ”Yarborough Action News told Jax.
Ultimately, its bill would require the Department of Economic Opportunities, Department of Education, and Department of Children and Families to work together on a single system that would provide labor and education systems across the state.
The next update from the Business Opportunities Department will be out on Friday April 16
If the law is passed, it will ultimately come into force on July 1, 2021.