With COVID-19 cases rising, more people and places are trying to adapt. A common concern for the city of Vermillion is staff shortages amongst businesses.
Nate Welch, the president and CEO of the Vermillion Area Chamber and Development Company (VCDC), said he notices this common occurrence throughout Vermillion.
“We have seen a workforce shortage in multiple sectors, throughout the Vermillion area, since even before the pandemic in 2020,” said Welch in an email interview with The Volante. “As much as we all wish there could be a silver bullet to solving the workforce need, there unfortunately is not one.”
Not only are there problems with short staffing, but businesses have also started to cut down the hours they are open. The downtown restaurant, Café Brulé, feels this impact. Owner Monica Iverson said she hopes this frustration will end soon.
“It’s frustrating,” Iverson said. “We definitely would like to be open in the evening again, because temporary has turned into a much longer stretch than we were hoping for.”
Café Brulé is on the lookout for more hires. Specifically, they are in search of more cooks.
“No one is interested in cooking,” Iverson said. “Which is too bad because I think it is a good lifelong skill to have. Chef Jim is also an amazing trainer.”
Throughout all this chaos, Welch said communication is key to allowing Vermillion to prosper.
“One of the most important things, during these, and any times that are difficult, will be communication, our challenges, observations, ideas, efforts and encouragement,” Welch said. “From there, we find programs to implement, specific support to provide and ways that we can tackle the challenges that accompany the times of COVID-19.”
The VCDC and downtown businesses are hoping by offering incentives they will be able to garner new employee interest.
“The VCDC has partnered with the Governors Office of Economic Development, and companies around Vermillion to implement a workforce attraction program that can include cash incentives to new or promoted positions that relocate to the Vermillion area, as well as a coordinated marketing campaign to attract workers to consider moving to the area,” Welch said.
Iverson said she is thankful for the community, during these fluctuations and Café Brulé hopes to get back to life as normal soon.
“We really appreciate the community support through all this and the college kid’s support,” Iverson said. “We appreciate the patience with the hours and we are hoping to get back to our comfortable selves soon.”