RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — With multiple industries having faced staffing shortages and people still needing the COVID-19 vaccine, the City of Richmond partnered with several organizations to host a job fair and vaccination opportunity to the southside community.
A walk-up city event Richmond’s Southside Plaza on Saturday had people lining up two hours before the start who were eager to search for a job, receive a vaccine, or both.
The event provided all three available COVID-19 vaccines, hiring agents from over 25 local businesses and family activities.
Similarly to the Virginia Department of Health’s efforts in bringing vaccines to the community, Richmond and other organizations like the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce wanted to make a space where people could look for work and get the shot at the same time.
“If we could get people together, there are people that are looking for work for sure, but sometimes getting around to different hiring agencies, to different employers can be really challenging,” said Jason Alley, liaison to the restaurant and small business community for the City of Richmond.
The President of the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Michel Zajur, said the organization wants to help those who may face language barriers in getting work or vaccines and to help bridge the gap to make connections.
Zajur added that the chamber plans to have more events in the future to help address the staffing shortage situation.
Alley said in the past they have worked to help people in need of jobs get them, but now they’re on the opposite end — helping employers find employees.
“I wish that I could just tell you that there was one easy answer to this problem and there isn’t,” Alley said. “There are a lot of different things that are all combining together to make it really challenging for the hospitality industry. I think by people being able to be in direct contact with the hiring employers, understand that they’re providing good jobs, good paying jobs and to talk a little bit about the culture of their business, I think that that’s something that people really want to know about.”