Many county employment and family service agencies are struggling to hire

FREMONT – The Sandusky County Department of Employment and Family Services is often responsible for helping employers fill vacancies through job fairs. Now, the local agency itself needs a job fair as it seeks to fill several vacancies.

And on June 4, those looking for jobs in fields such as children’s services, benefit eligibility and workforce development have plenty of opportunities, according to Melanie Allen, director of the county employment and family services agency.

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Following:Trauma at work: stress takes a heavy toll on local social workers

Allen said his office was down about 10%, with around nine vacancies out of his regular workforce of 91.

The agency usually organizes hiring events for other employers

“One of the things we talked about was doing what we do for other employers, which is having a hiring event,” Allen said.

And from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 4 at their offices, 2511 Countryside Drive, the agency will be accepting applications and holding short interviews for vacancies.

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Employment and family service workers locally and across the country have high turnover due to stress and trauma in normal times, not to mention a pandemic, and Allen said he was difficult to get people to introduce themselves.

“We’ve had a lot of final interviews. I’ve never seen this before,” Allen said. “And a lot of cancellations.”

As COVID-19 numbers continue to drop and the state announced it will stop paying an additional $ 300 per week in federal unemployment benefits next month, Allen said the office has seen a steady increase in number of walk-in people looking for work in general.

And with more than 2,900 jobs within a 20 mile radius of Fremont, Allen said there are plenty of job options for residents.

In addition to additional federal unemployment benefits that force some people to stop looking for work, Allen said the competition to attract new workers to their offices presented challenges.

People looking for work are in a good position

Referring to Cedar Point’s announcement that it is now offering $ 20 an hour for seasonal staff and $ 500 in signing bonuses, as well as other businesses such as Arby’s in Clyde offering signing bonuses signing $ 1,000, Allen said the additional benefits to area jobs made it difficult for her. office to find workers.

Because of these options, Allen said the job market has become an “employee world” where potential employees have the lion’s share of power.

“They can choose where they want to work because there are so many positions open and there are perks and perks,” Allen said. “Being a social worker with children is a very difficult job. “

And Allen said many counties in Ohio are experiencing a shortage of social workers.

The number of cases has remained stable, despite more mental health and addiction issues during the pandemic.

The cases are more serious

Allen said that while the number of cases has not increased, there have been much more serious cases that have resulted in the children being placed either in foster families or in the county kinship program where children in foster care are placed with family members.

“A lot of people self-heal with medication. We were already in the throes of an opioid epidemic, and then we went through another epidemic on top of that,” Allen said of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are seeing a decrease in heroin use, but a slight increase in methamphetamine use.”

Allen said methamphetamine has become a drug of choice because it causes fewer overdoses compared to fentanyl or trafficked heroin and other opioids.

Shortages of social workers and an already heavy workload have put even more stress on a profession often traumatized by some of the tragedies they see in the homes of their own neighborhoods.

“We’re doing more overtime than usual and it’s a lot to ask our kids to be out there doing this work,” Allen said.

But there is hope on the horizon as more and more people return to work.

Hope for a returning workforce

Casey Morrow, Workforce Administrator for the Sandusky County Employment and Family Department, said job seekers are slowly returning for face-to-face meetings at the Employment and Labor Services. family.

As of May 23, all Ohioans applying for unemployment benefits must respond to required work activity searches that were previously on hold due to the pandemic.

Morrow said the elimination of the extra $ 300 per week in unemployment benefits, which expires on June 26, will likely provide more incentive to re-enter the workforce.

“A single person can earn $ 485 a week in unemployment benefits,” Morrow said. “You add another $ 300 to that, you’ve now made that paycheck $ 785 a week and there’s only a 10% reduction in federal tax.”

For many employers, the $ 300 in extra benefits – which at one point was $ 600 more – left many employers out of the market when workers could earn as much or more money per week by staying home and by perceiving unemployment.

The work is there and more and more people are getting vaccinated and can return to the workforce.

More walk-ins coming to JFS

In the first three weeks of May, Morrow said more than 200 residents came for visits to the DJFS ‘Ohio Means Jobs center.

Morrow said in January that there were 39 people who entered the Ohio Means Jobs center. Then 37 in February before a slight increase with 168 walk-ins in March and 179 in April.

The belief is that more Ohioans are ready to work and in many cases this trend is at the forefront in Sandusky Count, where the 4.7% unemployment rate closely matches normal unemployment numbers. In Ohio, the unemployment rate is 4.9% while the national rate is 6.2%.

Morrow also said there are well-paying jobs available in the area, with more than 900 jobs open within a 20-mile radius paying between $ 30,000 and $ 49,000 per year.

There are nearly 4,000 jobs that pay between $ 50,000 and $ 79,000 per year within a 30 mile radius of Fremont, and over 2,400 jobs within a 30 mile radius of town that pay $ 80,000 and more.

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Twitter: @CraigShoupNH

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