On Wednesday, with the clipboard in hand, Briana Hurdle wrote down the word “as soon as possible” about the expected start date.
The 30-year-old woman circled the time for each day of the week when asked about availability. Her grandmother, Rus Espada, stood next to her and did the same.
At a job fair attended by more than 40 employers in Charleston’s hospitality industry, the two women moved between booths looking for jobs that promised consistent and stable time.
In Charleston, a world-famous tourist destination where hospitality is at the heart of both its graceful southern brand and the health of its local economy, there is a need for workers like hurdles and espadas in restaurants and hotels. I’m enthusiastic.
At most booths, employers said they were hiring in positions of 10 to 20 people that day. Some, such as Kaiwer Island Golf Resort, display a list showing nearly 60 open positions.
Espada and Hurdle confessed that they had never worked in a hotel or restaurant. At each booth, they wanted to be fully motivated to learn.
“We both like cleaning. We don’t mind doing it and we’re good at it,” says Hurdle, and housekeeping jobs may be suitable for them. Explained why she thought.
“I’m not sure about restaurants, but I know how to wash dishes,” Espada saw a list of apps GigPro that can post daily job listings for the service industry.
Prior to the all-day job fair, Jill Maynard, secretary-general of the Lowcountry Hospitality Association, said local restaurants and hotels are facing a serious employee shortage. This is usually the time for visitor-dependent businesses to prepare for the summer season.
Instead, they are still facing staffing challenges.
“Some hotels have reported that if they can’t clean and turn around, they’ll need to close their room reservations,” Maynard said. “What is the restaurant supposed to do if there is no chef to cook and no one to deliver to the table?”
This was when the South Carolina economy nearly a year ago, when a coronavirus pandemic closed most of the state and a record 89,147 initial unemployment claims were filed in the first week of April. It is a new struggle from.
Despite the current economic recovery, the lasting impact of a pandemic can be found in the hospitality industry..
Michellanu, a human resources generalist at the Belmond Charleston Place Hotel, said the pandemic has reduced the number of applicants commonly seen.
“After the pandemic, many people had to rethink their future and find other ways to find income. Unfortunately, hospitality and food and drink weren’t there. “Lannou said.
Belmond Charleston Place remains busy with visitors, but Lanu said he needed more people to work there.
Lannou pleaded with a former hospitality worker in the Charleston area to “come back.”
And what about hurdles and applicants like Espada who have never worked in the hospitality industry?
“Come in,” she said.
The hurdle moved to North Charleston in February and approached his grandmother. After working in Healthcare for over five years in Connecticut, she looked for a similar job here in home care.
But she found that the time was too inconsistent.
“I can’t sit down just by waiting,” said the hurdle. “I need a stable time.”
At the beginning of Wednesday, she again received a horrifying call that her home care client didn’t have to work that day. She didn’t have to work for the rest of the week.
For hurdles, not working is not an option. With two children, 11 and 6 years old, the hurdle has to feed the children.
She also had to replace it after the 2008 Jeep Liberty continued to leak oil. Currently she has a 2019 Subaru Crosstrek and will be paid for a new car every month even if the home care employer says she has no job.
65-year-old Espada wants to find more part-time jobs. She is currently working part-time, but Espada said her days are still empty. She said she wanted to fill them with meaningful work.
They started by looking for a housework job, but Espada encouraged her granddaughter to work harder.
“You’re good at front desks,” Espada urged her to go around the front office work. “You are on good terms with people.”
So the hurdle went around it.
“They seemed open to trying something new. What we really want is interest, want to work, just don’t have to work, but want to work, and They are the ones who find places where they value, “said Sarah Jones, Human Resources Director at Charleston Marriott.
To respond to the pandemic, Jones said Charleston Marriott has decided to raise housekeepers’ hourly wages to $ 14 an hour. She said the pandemic was an opportunity for companies to think about ways to better serve their employees in the hospitality industry.
Representatives of other hotels who refused to quote this story confirmed that they were offering up to $ 750 in contracts to get people back to work.
“It’s a tough job,” Jones said of housekeeping and other services industry jobs. “They are sweating eight hours a day and are worth $ 11 and over an hour. They deserve to be near the top of entry-level positions.”
The hurdle wiped the sweat off his forehead, looked around, and noticed that she and her “Gigi” were connected to all the hotels at the job fair.
Then, almost an hour later, Hurdle and Espada found a moment of relief. The two walked into the nearby shade, where a food truck was offering tacos to employers and job seekers.
At the El Jefe food truck, which he also employs, Hurd ordered two sprites. At the table, Espada reviewed a pile of documents and pamphlets collected at the job fair.
She smiled as the hurdle skimmed her application.
“I feel better. I feel like I have some chance,” said Hurdle.
What she heard from each booth all day was that the hotel needed them.
It was a refreshing pace change for the hurdle. The hurdle hasn’t been where she wanted to click on what felt like a rabbit hole in a job listing for the past two months.
After a brief discussion of salaries and benefits, contracts and locations, they settled on two top choices: Charleston Marriott and Belmond Charleston Place Hotel. But they also have no intention of limiting themselves. They will apply to all hotels connected on Wednesday.
“All of them,” asserted Espada.
When the women returned to the car, they kept it in the park and began filling out the application form.