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Where the jobs are: Prospects improving for unemployed despite COVID-19

December 2, 2020 | Filed under: CareerSource Broward News

Via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

In a state where the unemployed outnumber job openings by 2-to-1, the outlook for people seeking work during the COVID-19 crisis might seem fairly bleak.

But as the pandemic has destroyed jobs, it has created opportunities for workers who are willing to change industries and learn new skills. Meanwhile, South Florida is growing as a desirable spot for out of-town companies that see the region as an alternative to states locked down due to COVID-19.


Marine industry: David Coddington, senior vice president of business development at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, said the region’s billion-dollar marine industry “is on fire right now” with some of the best sales they’ve ever had even before the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, which operated on a smaller scale out of respect for the pandemic.

The industry continues to generate strong employment among businesses playing supporting roles. Several companies are hiring fiberglass paint specialists, mechanics and riggers, said Hylton of CareerSource Broward.


Aviation and health care: For private and public employment assistance firms and agencies, “this is like first responder time for us,” said Carol Hylton, president and CEO of CareerSource Broward.

She said her agency is working with a variety of industry leaders to find ways to redirect the unemployed into jobs and careers as employers adjust to life under COVID-19.

An overview of several key industries seeking talent through CareerSource is showing demand in aviation, health care, retail and information technology.

In aviation, several Broward companies are seeking mechanics and line technicians, Hylton said.


Technology: Matthew Boudreau, a Florida district president for Robert Half International, the staffing firm, said COVID-19 has created demand for experienced technology professionals, particularly among employers running remote work environments.

“With the remote environment now, you need to increase network security, engineers and network administrators to support these remote positions,” he said.

Hylton agreed that local companies are maneuvering to hire software developers and cloud programmers to accommodate expanded remote work situations.

“All of the employers are using technology in a way they didn’t think they would do so quickly, us included,” she said.


Retail: The retail industry, while slow, has a need for people to fill online orders. Chewy, the online pet food and products retailer, has 154 openings.

And restaurants, which were among the businesses most severely battered by the pandemic, have plastered the CareerSource job boards with notices for 3,000 openings for counter workers, cooks and servers.

Hylton said her agency has an array of training programs that carry paid internships. CareerSource is also working with local schools and colleges to develop programs that yield “rapid credentialing” for program graduates.

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