Ken Long, human resources director for Putnam Plastics in Danielson, believes the hiring market is unusual right now.
“The market is as crazy as I have ever seen it in my experience,” Long stated in an email “There are definitely more job openings now than there are people available as we come out of this pandemic.”
To help bring in more employees to businesses, on May 17, Gov. Ned Lamont announced the CT Back to Work program that would give 10,000 residents who have been unemployed a delayed $1,000 payment from the state for returning to work. While state unemployment data for May isn’t available yet, April’s numbers from the Connecticut Department of Labor already show some improvement, with the unemployment rate at 8.1%, compared to 8.6% this time last year. However, the opinion seems to be mixed if offering incentives is encouraging people to come back to work.
In terms of CT Back to Work, an individual earns the $1,000 after being at a job for eight weeks from now until the end of the year, after having had an unemployment claim for the week of May 23, and 11 weeks between Dec. 27 to May 22, among other requirements on the program’s frequently asked questions document.
Mohegan Sun incentives
Jeff Hamilton, president and CEO of Mohegan Sun, said it’s good to offer an incentive, but $1,000 only goes so far compared to the extra $300 in federal money given weekly for unemployment.
“I think it does something, but I think people are smarter than we’re giving them credit for,” Hamilton said. “They’re saying to themselves ‘I’m making this amount staying home, and this amount working. Even with the $1,000 bonus, in some cases I’m making the same or more staying home.’”
Even still, both the tribally owned casinos are also offering their owns incentives for people to work. Mohegan Sun is offering bonuses for specific positions, with the largest being a $2,000 sign-on bonus for culinary positions.
“We can’t find culinary team members.” Hamilton said. “It’s impossible.”
Foxwoods casino referral bonuses
Foxwoods Resort Casino is offering deferred $200 bonuses for employees to refer new people, who also get the same bonus.
“We are invested in and fiercely committed to the ongoing growth of our team members, and are focused on helping people start and build long-term careers at Foxwoods,” Jason Guyot, president and CEO of Foxwoods Resort Casino, stated in a press release.
Hamilton said Mohegan Sun’s efforts are going OK so far, having given out a total of 30 bonuses of differing amounts, along with hiring positions that didn’t offer a bonus. However, he hoped to have more people ready going into the summer months, as the casino continues to have job fairs every other week.
Putnam Plastics also offering hiring bonuses
Long said that Putnam Plastics is also supplying hiring bonuses, with $1,000 for starting in any of the about 50 open positions with the company, bonuses to employees for referrals, and making sure their wages stay competitive.
“At this point just about anything that helps get people back into the productive workforce would be a good thing,” Long stated in an email.
The Spa at Norwich Inn still has positions to fill
However, in terms of just the state bonus Lisa Zibbideo, the restaurant manager for The Spa at Norwich Inn hasn’t heard a mention of the state’s bonus among the interviewees who show up. So far, only five of the 10 needed restaurant and juice bar positions there have been filled, and there are other departments at the Spa at Norwich Inn that need more people.
“Just trying to find some good help and it’s been hard, that’s all,” Zibbideo said.
Hamilton said with not having enough employees in the summer, some of the amenities at Mohegan Sun will have capacity limits or shorter hours. However, Hamilton is confident the jobs situation will change with the season.
“Once that additional federal supplement (to unemployment) goes away, once people get more comfortable when schools start again, we’ll probably get into a better place,” Hamilton said.