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Staffing shortage has local businesses offering incentives for new employees

"People are getting creative and trying to think of ways to encourage people to come back to work," said Roberson.

MICHIGAN, USA — You see the "Help Wanted" signs nearly everywhere you go, and the staffing shortage is so bad, some businesses are reducing hours. 

Others are sweetening their offer to hire the people they need. 

Companies both national and local are getting creative, offering incentives to fill jobs, but they're encouraging potential candidates to act quickly.

"Every industry is feeling that crunch, even the local corner stores," said William Roberson, CEO of Shoreline Staffing based out of Muskegon. 

"Everywhere you go you're gonna see 'Help Wanted' or 'Hiring Now' signs," he added.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy has added hundreds of thousands of jobs over the past couple of months. But businesses still can't find workers to fill those jobs.

Roberson said the staffing shortage may be due to continued fear of contracting COVID-19, but he also attributes it to the unemployment benefits many have received during the pandemic.

"I think it's a combination of all of those things," he said. "The fear and the government assistance has made it easier for people to stay home."

That staffing shortage now has companies offering incentives.

"People are getting creative and trying to think of ways to encourage people to come back to work," said Roberson.

One of those places is Grand Rapids' own Schaafsma Heating and Cooling.  

The company is offering a $5,000 signing bonus for candidates who are properly qualified. But Schaafsma President Kevin Walsh said they will also hire those with no experience and will put them through the proper training. 

"If they're willing to work and they have some mechanical ability and a willingness to learn the industry, we'll teach them," said Walsh. "But we just need people to apply."

Roberson's Shoreline Staffing is also offering an incentive for new workers. They will get a bonus at the end of the week based on how many hours they work. 

"It's really just to encourage and entice people to get back to work," Roberson said.

Nationally, large companies are also getting creative to find employees. Applebee's announced their "Apps for Apps " program, where they're offering free appetizers with an application. Jimmy John's and Texas Roadhouse are also just a couple of chains hosting hiring events.

"Everyone is feeling that crunch," said Roberson. "From mom and pop shops to corporations. It's definitely been a tough time to manage."

Roberson said because unemployment benefits are set to end in September, finding a job now is a safer, more long-term option.

"These jobs are more likely to be filled come September," he said. "They might not be available, so if you're looking to get back to work now is the perfect time."

Plus, Walsh with Schaafsma said companies might not always offer incentives when jobs get filled, so now is the time to take advantage of openings. 

"Right now you can have your pick of the jobs, so it's really the time to be looking for work," said Walsh.

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