PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - COVID protocols may be getting better, but the food service industry is far from recovered.
“We’re not really receiving the applications we could use,” said Brandon Woods, assistant manager of Ed’s Drive-In in Wade. “We just opened up our lobby, so we’re struggling to fill these roles that we desperately need.”
Friday’s Job Fair, sponsored by the City of Pascagoula and Pascagoula Main Street, seemed as though it had more businesses than those interested in finding a job.
Ed’s Drive-In, like every restaurant, is doing what it can to attract new employees.
“We’re offering better incentives,” Woods said. “We’re trying to compete with other people around us. It’s difficult. Not many people are applying.”
Javone Buza, general manager of the Pascagoula Dairy Queen, is not afraid to provide a reason.
“I feel like it’s because of all the unemployment and stimulus,” said Buza. “If people would stop giving away free money, then we could get people back to work.”
After a morning trying to find new employees, Buza was back on the frontlines to face the problem at hand.
“Nobody’s just in one area,” said Buza. “Everybody’s just helping where they can. So, that’s how we’ve been doing it.”
While the morning’s job fair showed promise, her efforts haven’t worked so far.
“I hired four people last week and did four end-of-employments this week,” Buza said. “None of them showed up, or made it more than one day. I don’t know.”
Those seeking employment at the job fair like Christopher Sherrod, simply said it’s time.
“I heard that because of COVID-19, a lot of employers are having a hard time finding workers,” he said. “So, I was thinking, like, it might be a good time to find a job.”
But he’s still nervous about getting back to work.
“I don’t feel safe doing it, but I need some type of employment.”
Cody Husley has been out of work for some time and has never worked in the food service industry.
“I just had to make myself come in here to do this,” said Husley. “It’s a new experience, so I’m a little nervous. I’m trying to just get back out there and get started going a new direction.”