CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — Hundreds of jobs in hospitality, tourism, and manufacturing jobs are open as these industries struggle to fill positions.
The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) brought job seekers and employers together at the first hiring event since the pandemic on Tuesday in Conway.
Some job seekers say they have been out of a job since COVID-19, are anticipating upcoming layoffs, or have only been unemployed a week, like Tavares Ward.
“I’m looking for a better life for my family and me as well,” Ward said.
Among six employers at the S.C. Waccamaw Works hiring event, employers look to fill entry-level to experienced positions.
It’s been a week out of work for Ward, but he’s ready to get back to work.
“I have four kids, three little girls, and one little boy. They are more of my pride than anything,” Ward said.
While motivated to support his family, Ward is one of 117 people who showed up to take advantage of dozens of open positions.
“There’s a lot of good-paying jobs out here,” Ward said.
At a time when the economy is bouncing back after a hard hit from the pandemic, direct-contact jobs like working at hotels, restaurants, manufacturing, and childcare facilities are struggling to hire employees.
Several employers tell News13 they are looking to fill anywhere from 30 to 80 entry-level to experienced job positions.
“We are hopeful, but it’s been 20 plus years, this is the most challenging year that I’ve experienced with hiring,” said Brenna Gahagem, Corporate Director for Myrtle Beach Seaside Resorts.
“These employers need people to come to work,” according to Kimberly Burke, the Regional Manager for S.C. Dept. Of Employment and Workforce Employment Services Division, said. “You’ll hear anecdotal things where people will say nobody’s hiring, or there are no jobs to be had, but there are hundreds of jobs in these six tents.”
Hundreds of jobs wait on an job seekers to fill out applications. Ward walked in unemployed, looking for work outdoors or in a warehouse, and walked out with an opportunity.
“If I hadn’t come, I wouldn’t know about this place, and this place has good benefits,” Ward said.
Fear-based hesitation is what employers say is keeping people from applying for face to face jobs in the hospitality industry. Hospitality employers also say it’s been the most challenging hiring year in their 20 years of experience.