A handful of Wetumpka businesses set up booths at the Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce's hospitality job fair that took place on Wednesday, June 2, at the Wetumpka Civic Center.
The job fair included businesses such as Waffle House, Hardee's, Wind Creek Casino, Wharf Casual Seafood, Hampton Inn and more. Foot traffic at the job fair picked up around lunchtime, but the event took place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Area residents were invited to come and learn about the job opportunities available throughout the city. The idea for the event was formed out of need, said Shellie Whitfield, executive director of the Chamber.
"The point of it all is that our community needs help and the one thing I know about Wetumpka is that we help one another," Whitfield said. "We went from being a sleepy little town, to being closed up from the pandemic and now to this huge tidal wave of tourists, and everyone's just doing their best to catch up."
On May 22, popular downtown eatery Coaches Corner Bar and Grill was forced to close because the restaurant was so short-staffed and could not keep up with the demand.
As a result, patrons went to Coosa Cleaver, which resulted in the restaurant closing early on Sunday and remaining closed that Monday. A message on Coosa Cleaver's Facebook page said the restaurant's staff was "extremely overworked and needed a day off." Several other businesses are having similar issues.
"The employees that are there working are tired because they're pulling doubles because the restaurant is so short-staffed," Whitfield said. "Right now, there are endless opportunities to get a good and to work with great people."
Tracy Hart, staffing and recruiting specialist for Wind Creek Casino, said employees are needed for all positions.
"We have several positions open," Hart said. "We're getting ready to open up our valet service and we need valet runners. We also have several security guard positions, two maintenance supervisor positions, IT jobs, and hotel room attendants are desperately needed."
Hart said filling open positions has been challenging because few people are applying for jobs, and a lot of those who make it the interview stage don't show up for their interviews.
Hart said the casino has an aggressive training program that allows employees to turn an entry level position into a career.
"If you are in need of a job, if you are in need of a better job, if you're looking for something different, if you want to be a blessing to our community, please reach out to our hotels, restaurants and other businesses here in Wetumpka," Whitfield said. "The only way we're going to get through this is if we work together."