Illustration of the virus that causes Covid-19 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Illustration of the virus that causes Covid-19 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As businesses close and applications for unemployment benefits increase by the hundreds, one Omaha staffing agency said it can’t fill jobs in some sectors fast enough.

Those industries trying to meet demand on everything from face masks to food packaging, said Carol Neff, co-owner of Remedy Staffing, a franchise of a national private staffing company. And those requests are “going through the roof,” she said.

“If I could get 500 people at my door this week, I’d get all 500 of them jobs,” Neff said.

Neff said the staffing agency, which she started in 1999 with her husband John and now places about 5,000 people annually, is getting hundreds of requests a day. On Friday her staff of 24 filled about 70 spots but left the office with 130 still open. On Monday they got 186 more from human resources departments with the expectation that would remain steady through the week.

It’s a signal of an economic shift to help relieve a new strain on some of America’s supply chains. Amazon, the largest shipper in America, announced it needed to hire 100,000 new workers.

In Omaha, companies are asking for people to help make products that keep supply chains running.

Some big products include styrofoam coolers and cardboard boxes to hold food as it’s brought to grocery stores, or labels for those containers. Although Neff said her company doesn’t disclose its clients, she said they are some of the area’s largest companies in these industries. There’s also an increased demand for workers to unpack those boxes and get products back on grocery store shelves.

Other area clients are producing N95 face masks which have experienced increased demand nationwide, causing doctors to reuse or work without them.

“There are a number of positions that are essential and are essential to our supply chain that need to be done,” Neff said.

To apply, people can visit Remedy Staffing’s website. Once they submit the online form, one of Neff’s staff can contact applicants to set up phone, Skype or Facetime interviews. In all, the process should take as little as an hour before her team is able to tell the applicant when and where they’re going to work.

Neff said she hopes those who’ve been laid off in industries like food service and hospitality can fill these gaps.

“For those who can, we want them to think differently,” she said. “[To say], ‘You know what, this isn’t work I’m used to, but I can do this.’”

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Chris Bowling

Chris has worked for The Reader since January 2020. As an investigative reporter and news editor he’s taken deep dives into topics such as police transparency, affordable housing and COVID-19. Originally...

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