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Springfield’s Job Center going mobile with One-Stop Pop-Ups in seven county area

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 6:34 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - After a two-year hiatus due largely to the coronavirus, the Missouri Job Center is once again hosting One-Stop Pop Ups with the first stops on Springfield’s Park Central Square.

The initial event was on Wednesday with another session on Thursday, June 17 from 1 p.m.-4 p.m.

The One-Stop Pop Up will be stationed on the square in front of the Springfield-Greene County Library and will move inside the library in the event of rain.

Springfield’s job center serves a seven-county area and more One-Stop Pop-Ups are on the way at various locations:

Webster County Square- July 14, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Dallas County (Heart to Heart Food Pantry)- October 6, 12:30 p.m.-4 p.m.

Stone County Galena Library)- September 8, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Christian County (Ozark Library and Nixa Library)-completed in May

Taney County (Elevate Branson)- November 10, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Polk County-will be in Augus, date and location TBD

O’Reilly Hope Center-will be in December, date and location TBD

Probation and Parole- Campbell location only, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 1st Wednesday of every month

The purpose of the mobile job center is to bring job seeking resources to those who might not be able to get to the main office on Sunshine Street.

And after a lot of jobs disappeared during the pandemic, they are reappearing in a big way now.

According to numbers just released, Missouri had 200,000 more jobs in May 2021 than it had in May 2020.

”It is a job seeker market so if you want to find a job, there are jobs to be found,” said Jennifer Biri, a Business Service Representative for Springfield’s Missouri Job Center who was helping job seekers at the One-Stop Pop-Up on Wednesday.

In fact, if you had a dime for every “Now Hiring” sign in the area, you’d be rich.

Just in a one block section along Campbell and Republic Road, Village Inn, Domino’s, Dairy Queen, McDonald’s and Mr. Car Wash and Lube all had “Now Hiring” signs displayed.

Driving down Sunshine you’d notice Braum’s was offering $11 per hour student P.M. shifts and $12 per hour part-time adult crew jobs while the Sonic just across the street was offering up to $16 with openings in all shifts and positions with open interviews all day, every day.

Some businesses like Kentucky Fried Chicken and the Buffalo Wild Wings on Battlefield have had to reduce hours of operation because of the lack of an adequate work force.

A sign on the door of Buffalo Wild Wings says, “Due to the national shortage in the work force and limited staff, unfortunately we will be changing our hours of operation and availability of tables in order to serve customers in a timely fashion once seated. Unfortunately this will lead to higher waiting times to be seated. We apologize for the inconvenience and assure you we will do what we can to get you seated ASAP.”

So just like the vaccine effort, where health care providers are going to different locations to try and make vaccinations more accessible, the Missouri Job Center is branching out from its office to do the same thing.

“In these pop-ups we’re working with job seekers on their resume, interviewing techniques, helping them with finding work, job searching, referring them to employers for work and other resources as well,” Biri explained. “Today we’re really excited about the turn-out. We had a line when we got here so that shows that people are getting back out there looking for work.”

Christopher Florance was one of those who stopped by the One-Stop Pop-Up in the downtown square. Florance just graduated from Evangel with a degree in film and broadcasting and having just finished college during a pandemic, he admitted he could use some help finding employment.

“It’s a lot of stress of not knowing what to do next,” he said. “Looking for jobs, looking for apartments, trying to figure out what the next step is. It’s already hard enough to try and find a job right out of school but you throw COVID in there and it’s worse.”

Florance said many of the jobs he sees don’t interest him.

“I have been avoiding working in the food industry because I have a bad taste in my mouth from the last time I worked in one,” he said.

So what is his goal?

“If I can find the right job I’m willing to take anything right now that will pay,” he replied.

Biri said the job seekers she talks to run the gambit of what they’re looking for but there are two most common preferences.

“We hear all different things,” she said. “We have job seekers who come to us that say they’re looking for more money and we do see a lot of individuals that want to work from home and I think that has a lot to do with child care and school.”

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