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Will reinstated work search requirement help Vermont businesses hire?

Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 5:56 PM EDT
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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont businesses are having a hard time recruiting workers. Help wanted signs are plentiful with businesses looking for help. Jobs are returning as the pandemic ends, but some of the workers are not.

“Before we were getting inundated with applications. I would put some of our jobs out there paying you $18-$23 an hour on Indeed and I would get 150-175 applications in a day. In four days, I only received two applicants which I’ve never seen happen,” said Sacha Barber, the branch manager at CorTech.

CorTech, a recruiting agency, held an open house Friday at their new branch in South Burlington hoping to connect people with new job opportunities. In the six hours they were open, they only got four inquiries. The prospective employers we spoke with at the event say it has been hard to convince people to give up unemployment benefits that pay more than some jobs.

“Even if we get someone to come to the door or answer the phone, then they never, we never even get to the point where they’re hired,” said Rikki Albert, the quality control supervisor at Green Mountain Animal.

That could soon change when the state reinstitutes a job search requirement for people on unemployment. To continue to receive benefits, they will have to show they tried to land a job.

“They listened! (Laughter) You know, we had written to the governor. We’ve just been, a lot of employers reaching out to the government, local legislators just letting them know our concerns and our fears,” Barber said.

“If we have the individuals who want to come in and they just want to succeed at what they’re doing, have a career, then we have the opportunity,” Albert said.

These companies are looking to fill jobs now. CorTech has 190 job openings alone, and many manufacturers are expanding and looking for more help.

“I think you know we probably won’t feel much relief,” said John LeBourveau, the vice president of human resources at Darn Tough.

Darn Tough is also looking to hire at its sock factories. LeBourveau says the work search requirement is only part of the problem. He says it’s also the fact that college students in Vermont feel as though they have to leave to find good work.

“There is a gap in the American society right now about those that want to step into manufacturing roles,” LeBourveau said.

There are still other factors, such as transportation and child care that were around since before the pandemic, making it difficult for families to get back to work. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott says he will have more information regarding the work search requirement this week.

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