Western Mass. job trails brings candidates and open positions together | News


SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM)–A hiring drought has had many businesses in western Mass. struggling to fill open positions.

Now, with the extra federal unemployment benefits a thing of the past, many employers are hoping to see more applicants. To help those looking to hire, the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Economic Development Council have teamed up with local businesses to host a regional job fair.

“It’s innovative and it’s different,” said Rick Sullivan, president of the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council.

Sullivan is talking about a new kind of job fair, called the western Mass. job trail.

“We’re showcasing 50 participating companies that have job openings and inviting potential employees to go along the trail and pick out the jobs that are of interest to them…The job openings are really across the sector everything from hospitality to manufacturing,” said Sullivan.

There’s no need to apply in advance. Interested applicants can just walk into any of the participating businesses, fill out an application, get an interview, and maybe even land a job on the spot. They can even get some help impressing employers.

“We did make an offer through MassHire here in Hampden County to help people put their resumes together,” said Sullivan.

This comes at a time when businesses across the country have been struggling to fill open positions throughout much of the pandemic. With the expanded federal unemployment benefits ending this past weekend, Sullivan’s hoping to attract more candidates.

“The timing was intentional for today and next week. You know, if you look across the country, there has not been a huge uptick in the number of people returning into the workforce but we’re hoping that you know, we’ll have really good results here,” said Sullivan.

One of the employers looking to hire: Excelsure Homecare in Springfield.

“Currently we are looking for certified nurses aides, home health aides, personal care attendants, LPNs and RNs,” said Natasha Alleyne, alternative clinical manager for Excelsure Homecare.

“And all the professionals, like physical therapy, occupational therapy, and as much as we can get,” said Ama Kyereme, alternative clinical manager at Excelsure.

The pandemic put a strain on their employees.

“We did lose a lot of staff, you know, due to just people afraid to be in the field,” said Kyereme.

That, along with many of their employees not wanting to get vaccinated, something that’s mandatory in Massachusetts for healthcare workers. They told Western Mass News that they saw a good turnout Wednesday.

“I’ve actually interviewed just today alone five applicants…We have definitely seen a change from what we were recently struggling with hiring staff. But now, it seems like things are just starting to pick up,” said Kyereme.

To follow the job trail, just look for the blue and orange balloons. There will be another event next Wednesday, Sept. 15.  A full list of participating businesses could be found here. More information on the job trail could be found here. 

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