The hiring struggle continues

Local News

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.

The Ocotillo Restaurant and Bar is known for beautiful views and great food, but as the dishes stack up, the help is lacking to wash them. Just ask the owner. “I actually am right now, scheduled for a dish washer shift this Saturday night,” says owner, Sandra Weckerly.

The economic recovery is speeding up from the pandemic recession and this business has had to adapt and so have the workers. “We have a new policy where every server or bartender has to work at least 1 dish pit shift a week,” said Weckerly.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment also has a new policy designed to disqualify claimants that can work from receiving continued unemployment benefits for failing to show up to to an interview, the first day of work, or deliberately providing false information to be disqualified for a job. Weckerly says, “It might take us two or three weeks to get one to ten applicants. Most of them aren’t qualified or have any experience, and then getting them in to interview, maybe one will show up.”

Yet again, another Grand Junction business is going through hiring struggles, but the pool of candidates isn’t shallow because since mid-March 926,676 Coloradans filed for regular unemployment, according to the Colorado Department of Labor. “We’re hiring for hosts and hostesses, dishwashers, pool attendants, which is actually a pretty fun job,” said Weckerly.

Timing is everything and one applicant with the right skills came to the right place at the right time. Scarlett Merritt is that candidate. “I just went through all this lifeguard training last year before COVID so then, I couldn’t even lifeguard after,” said Merritt.

The owner of Ocotillo’s said before the pandemic, they were seeing up to 50 applicants per week, but now the stress falls on good help and the family is putting in overtime. “I have one young gal that worked 104 hours the last two weeks, and then my husband, myself and we have a few grown kids that are all just filling in backfilling every spot that we need,” said Weckerly.

As of May 5th there are 79,740 available jobs in the state according to the Colorado Department of Labor of Employment, and Sandra Weckerly is hiring for at least half a dozen positions taking from that total including a Redlands Mesa Golf Course grounds maintenance employee.

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