Small turnout at big Huntsville job fair

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 8:59 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - “Now hiring” signs remain in front of businesses around Alabama, despite an unemployment rate that continues to drop.

Last week, we reported that the state unemployment rate dropped to 3.2 percent last month.

On Tuesday, the restaurant and hospitality industry hosted a job fair at the VBC, only 50 people showed up. This is the sector that was hit the hardest as a result of the pandemic. Twenty-nine employers including restaurants and hotels were looking to hire about 1,000 employees, but there was a problem, not a lot of people showed up.

“Throughout the pandemic restaurants and hotels have suffered tremendously. The hospitality industry of people coming together and during a pandemic we had to be socially distanced,” said Mindy Haman, Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Association President.

Like every job fair, booths were set up with about 30 employers looking to hire. The doors opened at 10, and within the first hour, less than 10 people looking for work showed up.

Alycia Hamlet was one of the few.

“I’m 19. I went to Bob Jones High School. I graduated last year, and like I said this is my first job fair and I’m excited to see what I could get,” said Hamlet.

She had her pick of the litter and didn’t waste any time.

Across Madison County and a lot of the Valley, companies are hurting for employees.

“We are looking to hire about 25 to 35 associates at the moment. We have every position available in the hotels from the front desk, to banquet servers, to stewards, to hostesses, all across the board we have positions available,” said Brent Boatwright, Director of operations at Weston.

“In my area in my district there are about eight locations and we’re opening up a new one in Jones Valley. We’re looking for about 27 to 30 people,” said Brianna Jones, General Manager Arby’s.

Employers were hoping for a bigger turn out, but they say the job fair represents the struggles they currently face trying to hire more staff.

“Ain’t nobody here but us. We’ve been kicking it with the taco Mama people in the Taziki’s man for a minute. Just waiting for other people to come in so hopefully some people will come in,” said Jones.

“I expected a few more people to be here. I didn’t expect it to be packed at the door but I expected it to be more people,” said hamlet.

Event organizers say only about 50 people showed up for the job fair.

With more than 1,000 jobs available here in Madison County, if you’re still looking for work there are still companies looking for you.

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