Working Through the Coronavirus

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Story by Lee Hurley

Is there really work available right now? The answer is yes. It is true that shelter in place laws have curtailed and even threatened the livelihoods of many and yet surprisingly there are still opportunities to earn money. The unemployment bonus has helped in some cases but there are many others who can’t get on or stay on unemployment and plenty more who simply want to work.  “This is an excellent time to consider a staffing agency,” says Loyd McIntosh Marketing Director for Automation Personnel Services (apstemps.com) with nearly 35 branch offices in ten states.  “What we have been able to do is to locate industries that need help and allow those who want to work in a temporary position while they wait to see what happens to their full time or other part time positions.”  Portico spoke to Loyd about further opportunities in this strange and challenging job market.

 Portico:  I can imagine this virus has hurt the staffing agency business, but are you still hiring?

LM: You’re right, the impact of the coronavirus-shutdown is unprecedented, but yes we are absolutely still hiring. Many of our clients are directly tied into the supply chains that ensure goods are available on shelves all across the country and have actually increased production to meet demand. That means jobs.

 Portico: Can you tell us what categories of jobs are available?

LM: Most of the positions we’re seeing right now are logistics-related, primarily warehouse jobs. Some of the needs are for order pickers, packers, production associates, forklift drivers, and other skilled labor jobs. These aren’t, by any means, the only type we’re filling now, however. Despite the shutdown, many companies have been deemed essential and have reached out to us to recruit people with specific skills such as welders and concrete finishers.

 Portico: Are employers taking steps to insure the health and welfare of temp employees?

LM: That’s a great question and I know many people are concerned about their health and safety in the workplace. We are following all CDC social distancing guidelines in our branches and are working closely with our clients to ensure they are also following all CDC guidelines.

 Portico: Can you suggest a specific job type you need right now?

LM: Sure. In the Birmingham area, we are recruiting people for jobs in food production and distribution, everything from production work at processing plants to positions involved in the shipping of food and other essential items to retail outlets.

 Portico: Are there areas that need more help?

LM: We have 35 branches in 10 states, so the needs in each community are much different depending on the types of businesses concentrated in each city, the prevalence of coronavirus in the area, and other factors. Right now, we have a need for more than 100 people in Tampa to help pack boxed meals for frontline workers combating coronavirus and vulnerable people unable to leave their homes. Also, in Greenville, South Carolina, we need around 50 people to staff shifts working 24 hours to help meet the demand for hand sanitizer.

 Portico: Is it possible that some of these temp jobs could turn permanent once the virus pandemic has slowed down?

LM: Absolutely! While some of the jobs we’re filling now are related to the coronavirus pandemic and are, therefore, temporary by nature, many of our jobs are classified as temp-to-hire, which means the company can offer a full-time position after a specified period of time. Additionally, the associates in our workforce are considered employees of our company and are eligible for benefits such as vacation, 401(k) retirement plan, and health insurance.

 Portico: Will some of these companies train people to do the needed work?

LM: Yes. We ensure that the people we recruit for them are trained for the jobs they need to fill. We will even work closely with clients to create customized programs to help screen for and develop the skills our associates need to be successful on the job.

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