TULSA, Okla. — The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission hosted the second day of a career fair in Tulsa on Friday.
The career fair is full of job opportunities, but employers said the challenge is getting them filled.
“We are hiring for all positions within the restaurant,” Aaron Miller, recruiter for Rib Crib BBQ, said.
Miller's company is one of dozens of employers with hundreds of jobs waiting to be filled. He said the restaurant industry is struggling to get people back in the workforce. He said this year, he's seen less traffic than he was anticipating.
“I think the pandemic has made people scared of dealing with the public every single day,” Miller said.
Alicia Neely, a recruiter for the Cherokee Nation's Hard Rock Casino, said the hospitality industry is facing the same struggle. Neely has attended this career fair in years past, but is shocked with this year's turnout.
“I’m shocked because attendance used to be lines deep of candidates looking for quality companies to come work for, and I am not seeing the attendance this year like I normally do,”Neely said.
Shelley Zumwalt, executive director with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, said unemployment is up in Oklahoma. As of March, unemployment stood at 4.2 percent, compared to 3.1 percent in February of last year.
Zumwalt said the career fair is an effort to connect claimants to job opportunities.
Cynthia Ivy, an attendee, landed a job on the spot.
“I was grateful enough to see IHOP here, and I got the chance to get a job and show that I want to attain a career through this career fair,” Ivy said.
Zumwalt said unemployment benefits are anther challenge employers are up against.
She said as we near the cut off deadline of the federal benefits, the opportunities may no longer be there, which is why she encourages claimants to not wait too long.
Another person who was looking for work after just completing her education and having served in the military said she found some potential opportunities.
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