Pine Belt companies attend job fairs as they remain short-staffed

From health care to restaurants to loan businesses, companies say they are still recovering from a year of uncertainty and struggle.
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 8:42 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - If you’re on the job hunt, many Pine Belt companies are still looking to fill openings and recover from losses they attribute to the pandemic.

Forrest County Board of Supervisors representative for District Two Sharon Thompson helped host a job fair Thursday to help.

Thompson addressed the variety of companies, thanking them for bringing opportunities to the people of the Pine Belt.

From health care to restaurants to loan businesses, companies say they are still recovering from a year of uncertainty and struggle.

“It’s a struggle every now and then to make sure we have the adequate staff to take care of our patients at the level we want to take care of them,” said Merit Health Wesley Human Resource Manager Kristen Reimert.

Lashauna Fortenberry, an administrator at Care at Residence Services (CARS) agrees.

“We usually pick up applications through the WIN Job Center, that’s been a big source for us, but this is our second job fair this year so we’re hoping for a big turnout,” said Fortenberry.

It’s not just healthcare that’s been impacted. In fact, Reimert and Fortenberry say they are hiring in a variety of positions, including, but not limited to, hands-on patient care.

Larry Orange, Division Director of Operations at Advance America, a loans company, says they are looking for a lot of new team members.

“We’re definitely feeling short-staffed at the moment,” Orange said. “Obviously, COVID has had an impact on the job market from a lot of the government assistance has been handed out and it’s kind of impacted the job market. So this has been kind of a struggle to get back staff for I would say the last six months now.”

Many companies are looking to hire locally through job fairs.

Madelyn Roberts, a recruiter at Brown Bottling Group says,

“We’re finally getting back to normal I feel like. Not too long ago we were struggling to get people in but now we’re just filling those positions slowly and just kind of, you know, keeping up with the little bit of turnover that we do have,” said Madelyn Robers, a recruiter at Brown Bottling Group. “This is actually my third one since Saturday so we get a lot of response from the job fairs and very good applicants as well.”

“Typically, in the past, we have not had a need to come. We’ve gotten a pretty good influx of applications just standard through our website,” Orange said. “But right now it’s just a struggle to really recruit and to hire. So we felt like this would be a good opportunity to come out and meet some of those prospective candidates.”

Other employers at the fair included the YMCA, the University of Southern Mississippi, Wingstop and Parrish Tractor.

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