FORT MYERS, Fla. — It’s a problem that is being felt by quite a few Southwest Florida businesses right now.
Help wanted signs are out, but there are no applicants to fill the jobs. Southwest International Airport is just the latest to experience this setback.
“I never thought I would be in an airport. I’m from North Carolina.”
For Xavier Barrett, being at Southwest Florida International Airport is a full-time job. From assisting with wheelchair service to overseeing an entire department it’s no walk in the park or, in this case, an airport. But it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“After I got my college degree and moved down to Florida, I ended up at the airport somehow," says Barrett, who serves as Station Manager for Eulen America at RSW Airport. "But I’m glad I ended up here because my career has been really good and this airport has been really good to me.”
Now that the Covid-19 vaccine has become more accessible- airports like RSW are seeing a surge in travelers. It also means a demand in jobs.
“People who could not fly last year, they’re flying this year," says Barrett. "It’s been a pretty positive effect all around and you can slowly see the increase of traffic from the people that’s working here to the people that’s flying out so it’s been really good.”
Right now, under the Continued Assistance or ‘CARES’ Act- those who fall under the Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation category can receive unemployment benefits until September 6. It’s a situation that is causing a hiring drought among many businesses- with RSW being one of them.
“As soon as that ends, there’s going to be a lot of applications coming in with people ready to go back to work," Barrett says. "I give it until the middle of October when they’ve probably spent everything or whatever the case may be. There’s definitely going to be an influx of people who are ready to return to work or ready to just get a new job.”
Barrett says his company, Eulen America, is looking to fill up to 30 positions- which is quite a jump to what they’re used to. But the time to apply is now.
“I feel like if you’re not sure what you want to do, I think the airport is a good place to start because there are so many different lanes you can take at the airport," said Barrett. "You can learn more about yourself, learn more about what you enjoy doing. There’s pretty much a career for any path you would like to take in an airport.”
You can find more information, as well as job opportunities, by visiting Eulen America online.