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Seasonal hiring looms in Omaha-metro as millions of jobs remain unfilled

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 10:41 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Labor statistics show Americans are still quitting the jobs they have and indicators are they aren’t filling the ones that are open. It’s a confusing job market about to become even more challenged when industries relying on seasonal hiring will be trying to lure workers back temporarily.

“As almost a century old business that’s been in the business of shipping our gourmet food products around the country during the holiday season, we really understand how to ramp up for that season as we’ve done it year after year in lots of different economic environments,” said Todd Simon, CEO of Omaha Steaks. ”One of the things we’ve learned during the pandemic is that people can work from home, and that there’s demand for work-at-home jobs. So one of the things we’ve done is we’ve shifted our contact center to be primarily work at home. People who wouldn’t have been able to come work seasonally for Omaha Steaks before, are able to.”

Omaha Steaks will reach across five states to fill the 3,500 temporary positions they need this holiday season.

“Almost 30% of the people who fill our seasonal jobs this year will have done a seasonal job for us last year,” Simon said. “So people come back because they know it’s great, they spread the word, (and) we try to create a good culture so they’ll want to stick around.”

National retail stores like Cabela’s/Bass Pro Shops have experienced difficulty finding people to fill full-time and regular part-time openings during the pandemic. Yet they still need 7,000 temporary workers this holiday season, including 55 in the La Vista Cabela’s location.

“We’ve become very flexible,” said Co-Manager Melody Just. “When we do hire, we’re very flexible with the employees, (we) give them different opportunities for when they come in.”

While retail and restaurant industries have lost the most workers, a few industries are simply trying to find enough skilled workers to do the job in a changing technical environment. That’s the case in the automotive tech industry, where state of the art programs like the one at Metro Community College can’t churn out qualified candidates fast enough to fill the automotive industry’s needs.

”Right now they are hiring our students before they’ve even graduated,” said MCC auto collision instructor Pat McKibbin. “(Companies are) sponsoring them and helping them with tuition, just to get technicians in the door.”

Cabela’s/Bass Pro Shops has a national hiring event this week, including in-person interviews for seasonal openings at locations in LaVista and Council Bluffs. Omaha Steaks has multiple local hiring events scheduled. Info can be found at omahasteaks.com/jobs.

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