AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – There is almost as much pedestrian traffic on Stanley Marketplace as it was before the pandemic. People are ready to get out, but companies need workers to get back on. Stanley Marketplace is confident that an upcoming job fair will help resolve some of their hiring problems.

The job fair will feature representatives from nearly a dozen small businesses, from food and beverages to retail and services. Employers are looking for both full-time and part-time workers. Restaurants across the country are struggling to recruit candidates as they emerge from COVID-19 restrictions.

(Credit: CBS)

“Some people have taken other jobs. Some people are afraid to get back to work due to the pandemic. It’s really hard to say, ”said Aleksi Backer, General Manager of Chook Chicken.

Chook Chicken had to lay off 30 employees last year. Now they are hiring aggressively. Backer says the restaurant is looking to fill jobs like dishwashers, line chefs, and even managerial positions. Despite the promise of competitive wages and a referral bonus, restaurant rentals don’t get bites.

“Getting someone to show up for an interview can be difficult. If we can plan it there is a 50/50 chance they will show up, ”Backer said. “We offer a referral bonus to get people in the door. We make a house with full tips for employees in front of and behind the house. We also offer full-time employee benefits. This is very unknown in most groups. “

At the Stanley Marketplace, the Create Cooking School also hopes that the job fair will expand its team.

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“Food and drink have definitely had great success during the pandemic. I think a lot of people are nervous about getting back to it because we’re working in such an intimate place, ”said Michelle Nguyen, Operations Manager at Create Cooking School. “We still support masks in our room because we are a leisure cooking school, but also a bar. People move around a lot in our space. “

(Credit: CBS)

Nguyen says applicants shouldn’t be intimidated by the name of the cooking school. Create is expanding and you want to fill a variety of positions.

“We’re really interested in just going there and seeing what we can do in terms of candidates and interested applicants,” said Nguyen. “We are creating a new wave of hospitality. We care about people who don’t have a background in food and drink. “

Former restaurant workers seem to be looking elsewhere. Companies hope some are just waiting to return. Both Nguyen and Backer say they love the community atmosphere that comes with working on the Stanley Marketplace.

You can pick up applications during the job fair in the hangar at Stanley Marketplace on Monday, May 24th, from 10am to 4pm