SOUTHWICK- The Economic Development Commission July 21 discussed organizing a job fair Sept. 21 as many Southwick businesses struggle to hire employees.
EDC member Amber Bach said during the July 21 meeting that the problem for businesses is not a lack of consumers buying goods, but a lack of employees.
Bach cited a recent Facebook post by The Southwick Inn, where they announced that they would be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays due to a lack of kitchen staff.
She said the job fair would likely take place in the Town Hall auditorium on Sept. 21 from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Local businesses will receive a flyer from the EDC in the coming weeks. There will be a maximum of 25 business slots for the fair.
She said she chose Sept. 21, a Tuesday, because she did not want to make businesses go without one of their employees for several hours on a weekend when it may be busier.
“They can, right on the spot, do interviews, give out applications, whatever they need to do,” said Bach.
Bach said part of the reason for having the fair in September is to wait until the $300-per-week unemployment supplement expires, which she believes may be a reason why some people are unwilling to go back to work yet.
EDC Chair Michael McMahon said that Southwick’s unemployment rate was approximately six percent at the end of April and beginning of May. He noted that this problem is not unique to Southwick, or Massachusetts as a whole. Rather, he said, it is a national problem with most communities experiencing something similar.
“It’s a widespread problem. It’s not just here,” said McMahon, “Last weekend we tried to stop out and eat in Connecticut. You could get to a casual dining restaurant at two or three in the afternoon, and they will tell you it’s an hour wait. The parking lot was empty.”
Bach said that they would advertise the fair with Westfield State University and Southwick Regional School students.