COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — More than 30 local restaurants and businesses have teamed up to hold a hiring event Thursday morning in Colorado Springs. The job fair will be held at the Pinery at the Hill at 775 W. Bijou Street from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Mackenzie Tamayo, the COVID-19 Program Manager for the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) said there's a shortage of employees in Colorado's restaurant and hospitality industries. These businesses have lost roughly 30 percent of their workforce during the pandemic, or about 70,000 positions statewide.
The locally owned businesses participating in the job fair are looking to fill more than 100 openings.
"At least half the restaurants are hiring on the spot, bring your resume, bring your application," Tamayo said.
The vacancies range from bussers, servers, and chefs; to event coordinators, marketing specialists, and managers. Spanish and American Sign Language translators will be on hand to help, as well as child care workers.
"We wanted to make it really easy," Tamayo said. "So, if you have kids or you if you don't speak English, just come and get to know some of the restaurateurs here in town, they are really excited to meet you."
Some small businesses may have staffing needs that are harder to address using the usual hiring channels. That's where a new grant program at the Pikes Peak Workforce Center can help.
"There's a cook who wants to learn some bookkeeping skills and start to help the business out, a small hotel property wants to really start doing more social media and they have no training in it; these funds will allow them to do that," explained Tamara Moore, the Community Workforce Administrator for the PPWFC.
The agency was awarded $50,000 to help with these employer-specific training needs from Walmart's Lives Empowered and the Colorado Workforce Development Council.
Moore said the center said this program was developed with input from local businesses in the restaurant and hospitality industry.
"They came to us and said, don't provide us with trainers, let us identify what we need training, find the sources that will help us, and then provide us the funding to help move forward," she said.
Businesses who are interested in the program must apply by Tuesday, May 25 via the Pikes Peak Workforce Center website.
Attendees at Thursday's job fair will be entered to win a $1,000 gift card that's accepted at several local restaurants around town. The event will take place indoors. So, guests are asked to follow social distancing protocols and bring a mask.