A local nonprofit employment organization is seeking more employers to match to its participants as a result of Hurricane Florence, according to an announcement Tuesday.
"StepUp Wilmington partners with local residents to find employment and long-term stability. Due to the impacts of Florence, we are experiencing an increase in the number of people looking for employment," Will Rikard, executive director of StepUp Wilmington, wrote in an email Tuesday. "Before the storm there were already some 30,000 plus people in New Hanover County that were either unemployed or underemployed. Now that need is growing."
Rikard said that after the hurricane, while StepUp was at New Hanover County's Community Recovery Resource Center at the former Sears store at Independence Mall on Oleander Drive, numerous people signed up to gain employment or higher-paying employment through StepUp.
Because of the storm in September, some people have lost their jobs completely because businesses have closed or have been out of work temporarily, Rikard said.
"At the same time, I think there's big demand for labor-related jobs due to tearing out drywall and that kind of stuff, which are temporary jobs," he said. "I think that's a good thing temporarily for people to have because those jobs pay pretty well, but you know, when that work starts to get done, you're going to have those people back on the job market."
The organization usually holds training sessions twice a month, but that number will have increased to three times a month by the end of October, Rikard said, and it looks like the number of trainees could double from a typical class of about 30 a month.
Rikard said StepUp Wilmington's goal is to match job-ready candidates with employers that have hiring needs.
"Not only are we seeking employers that want to do good for their community, but companies that want to grow their business through hiring the right people," Rikard stated. "Although it is not a requirement, we also seek employers who pay a good wage, $11.50/hour or higher, that offer greater financial stability to our neighbors."
Employers that have job openings, or those who know of a business that is interested in job candidates who have successfully completed StepUp's 32-hour training, can contact StepUp Employment Director Ally Thornton at [email protected]