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Top employers say hundreds of positions are not being filled in Wheeling

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Opportunities are out there, from fresh-out-of-college to summer gigs - but no takers.

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — Two of the biggest employers in Wheeling say hiring isn’t happening right now.  It’s not because they don’t have open positions to fill; they say people just aren’t searching.

Oglebay says they’re looking to fill around 100 entry level jobs. 

I do think that unemployment offerings have played a part in some of our struggle. But I also think sometimes people are not aware of what we have to offer.” 

Kelley Russell, Recruitment Manager at Oglebay and Wheeling Park

The CEO of Williams Lea says there are many open positions with document work for some of the largest corporations in the country.

Most of our roles require a college degree. We’ve always benefited from the number of colleges and universities in the Ohio River Valley. We are seeing challenges today though.

Clare Hart, CEO of Williams Lea

While 500 employees sounds like plenty, it’s a shell of what it should be for the park. 

“Over 100 positions right now. So, we’re looking to bring on another… I’d say we’re looking at 650 as a total we’re looking at right now,” said Russell.

There’s hesitancy in the labor market. Williams Lea thinks it’s health and safety concerns. Oglebay concurs. While CDC guidelines are followed, housekeeping is still taking a hit. 

“For us, the biggest struggle is the food and beverage department. I know a lot throughout the community are looking for servers and cooks.” 

Kelley Russell, Recruitment Manager at Oglebay and Wheeling Park

“As a global organization with a large presence across the U.S., I can tell you these challenges are not unique to Wheeling,” added Hart.

A foot in the door for banks and law firms, to discount access of all park amenities. There’s something for everyone. So, what’s up? 

“The big challenge ahead of employers is figuring out which roles are absolutely able to work from home and which roles absolutely must be in an environment.” 

Clare Hart, CEO of Williams Lea

Those in-person jobs are still a stretch.

Williams Lea says people have gotten a taste of not driving to work every day. And predictable schedules are rare in a pandemic. For example, the past 14 months, parents have been dealing with the closings and openings of schools/daycares. 

And according to a Small Business Economic Trends survey, it shows a record 44 percent of owners report having job openings they cannot fill.  

Williams Lea says they’re adapting to a hybrid format, but the CEO thinks they’ll see the tides change real soon when it comes to applications. 

But with jobs like Oglebay, where being a chef can’t be done over Zoom, they’re hoping people start warming up to the idea of in-person work real soon. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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