WNY employers have hard time finding enough workers

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BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) “We are definitely in need, I will tell you that,” said Tops Markets safety manager Michael Cmok as he hosted a walk-in job fair on Monday at the Tops Distribution Center in Lancaster. The company is seeking 100 employees of all kinds.

They’ll pay over $16 an hour for warehouse ‘selectors’. “We are right now selecting off a voice system, so they have a headset which will give them the orders, they have a time they need to complete the task at, take it to the door, wrap the pallet , make sure it’s secure for the job.”

But it’s not just Tops Markets. General Mills, Sumitomo Rubber and a variety of local manufacturers are desperately seeking workers as well, according to Demone Smith, executive director of the Buffalo Employment & Training Center. “The more skills you have the higher you can ask for in wages.”

Smith said there are plenty of manufacturing, healthcare, and E-commerce jobs. He acknowledges that there may be fewer people looking for jobs because they can still get an extra $300 a week in enhanced unemployment. “People are willing to work. It has to have a good rate for it to make economical sense for them.”

Shelly Lynch was job searching in the BETC on Monday. She is seeing a lot of work-from-home jobs but she’d rather work part time in a workplace. “I want to go into the job because, I’m a people oriented person. I like talking, laughing. I like working but I like to have that interaction with people.”

“It is a very tight market right now,” acknowledges Charleen Vitrano, of Remedy Intelligent Staffing. Her company is assisting a North Tonawanda manufacturer called J. Rettenmaier in publicizing a drive-through job fair at it’s production plant at 4 Bridge Street in North Tonawanda this Wednesday, May 12 from 1pm until 4pm. Five positions are available at the company which produces fiber concentrated powders.

George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.

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