As the demand for travel increases and the tourism industry starts to bounce back, Cape Cod businesses are racing to fill hundreds of summer positions.
Managers at Red Jacket Resorts are looking to fill roughly 500 positions. They are hosting job fairs hoping to hire local and even launched a radio ad campaign to try and find more employees.
“We know people have been hurting. We know people are out of work, but there are jobs to be had. We are hiring every job you can imagine that goes into a resort experience. These are really good jobs,” said Matt Pitta, Red Jacket Resorts' director of communications.
At Colombo’s in Hyannis, they are also feeling the heat. After hearing most of the vacation rentals nearby are already booked for the season, they are looking to bring on even more workers than they usually do at their restaurant group to meet the demand.
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“Every position is open at this point. We are going to hire at least 30 to 50 employees, I would say, just to handle the summer,” manager Erica Cimeno said.
Making it even tougher for Cape Cod businesses is the fact that the J-1 visa program, which many of them rely on to find summer workers from other countries, is up in the air due to the pandemic. Cimeno said her restaurant is also finding that a lot of former staffers do not want to come back to work since their unemployment benefits were extended.
Colombo’s is putting out a call for help on social media and, for the first time ever, hosting a job fair at the end of the month. However, even if they find employees, Cimeno said finding housing for them can also be a challenge.
“The housing market on the Cape is unbelievable. The amount of rentals are few and far between, since a lot of properties were purchased during the pandemic, but we really try to help our employees find housing. I’ve put people up at my own home before,” Cimeno said.
The Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce will also be hosting job fairs in the coming weeks. While some businesses may be short-staffed to start, they say this is a good sign that the tourism industry is recovering.