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CHICAGO – As Chicago restaurants continue to reopen, upscale restaurants held a job fair on Monday amid their struggles with a shortage of skilled workers.
The restaurant industry has faced holidays, layoffs and ex-workers who say they make more money collecting unemployment. Monday’s job fair aimed to showcase restaurants promising to pay minimum wage in hopes of attracting well-paid workers.
Jimmy Bradley, an unemployed cook, was one of many to show up at Monday’s career fair. Starting at 11 a.m., the event took place at Parkway Ballroom in Chicago.
“It’s been tough,” Bradley told WGN. “The pandemic really weighed on me. They say restaurants have a hard time finding people, but they just don’t put in enough effort. “
Terri Bush, owner of Windy City Ribs & Whiskey in the South Loop, said she understands why employees want and need more money to survive. That’s why she says she’s offering $ 15 an hour. Bush adds that she also helps her employees with wealth strategies. Despite this, she says she still struggles to recruit candidates.
“The employment process was the hardest part of reopening,” Bush said. “What we’ve done is dig into our personal network and connect with High Roads Kitchen.”
Sixty Chicago area restaurants calling themselves Grands Chemins Restaurants, have established a partnership with the national non-profit association A fair wage to defend restaurant workers. While attendance at Monday’s job fair was low, organizers remain optimistic and pleased with the quality of people who came.
“I think that says it’s a scary time,” said Mikey Knab, with RAISE: High Road Restaurants. “It’s not yet easy to decide to go back to work in a restaurant.
Knab says the industry as a whole needs to offer more incentives to the unemployed.
“If our industry doesn’t start valuing our workforce, we won’t be able to attract and retain the right talent,” he said. “It will be worse for our industry than the pandemic in general. “
Anyone interested in a job opportunity with High Roads Restaurant can Click here.
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