Help Wanted: Midland Restaurants Need Employees

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As restaurants offer in-person dining options, some local establishments are facing an employee shortage, despite soliciting former employees with return-to-work offers.

Lynda Robinson, of the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, explained that employers can report an employee’s refusal to work through their Michigan web account manager or through the UIA’s web portal. Those applying for unemployment benefits are required to inform the UIA if and why they refused to work during their bi-weekly certification.

“The agency will investigate and determine whether the claimant is still entitled to unemployment benefits. If the claimant is not entitled to benefits, he or she may have to repay benefits already received and will no longer be eligible for benefits in the future. Claimants and employers have the right to protest and appeal the agency’s decision, ”said Robinson.

Jimmy John’s in Midland is a restaurant that suffers from understaffing. Manager David Black explained that the restaurant reduced its number of employees when the pandemic struck last March. Very few employees returned when they were rehired later in the year; and he couldn’t give a reason they didn’t come back. As a result, the Midland site has had shortened hours of operation and struggles to keep up with deliveries, Black said. The sub-store has reduced its opening hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, although it will be open until 7 p.m. starting next week.

“We don’t see a high turnout of applicants,” Black said.

Jimmy John’s currently has 15 employees, including a few high school students who could work earlier because they can take Zoom courses. Black explained that the restaurant typically sees more employee participation during the summer months.

“We always accept applications. We could always use more delivery drivers, ”Black said.

Sheril Tarrant, Director of Business Services and Community Development at Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! heard similar comments from restaurants in the area that are ready to rehire employees and face a labor shortage.

“It’s pretty much general,” Tarrant said.

As restaurants determine how many employees to hire to keep pace with business, Tarrant reported that there was “a change in the atmosphere” when it came to employee comfort levels returning to work. While many were hesitant at first, now this group is pretty much equally mixed with those who are ready to return to work. People are calling to make appointments with career managers and begin their job search.

“In the restaurant industry, they’ve done so much to make sure people are comfortable from day one,” Tarrant said.

Works of the Bay of the Great Lakes in Michigan! is hosting a resume submission specifically for the area’s restaurant industry from noon to 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 4. Applicants can submit a copy of their curriculum vitae, select the positions and restaurants for which they wish to apply. Office staff will make copies of resumes and deliver them on behalf of applicants. As of Friday morning, 50 restaurants in the region are participating, including nine in Midland: Pizza Sam’s, Subway, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Jimmy John’s, Lasko’s, Culver’s, Cottage Inn Pizza, Good Time’s Pizza, ONE Eighteen (The H Hotel) and Applebee’s.

“If a job seeker wishes to submit their CV before 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on March 4, they can do so during normal office hours Monday through Thursday next week by simply using the envelopes provided in our service center entrance. and dropping it in the deposit box, ”Tarrant said. “We are trying to think outside the box to help. “

Any employer interested in participating can contact Tarrant at [email protected] or call 989-754-1144 x210.

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