Denver Airport Career Fair Expected 5,000 Visitors – Only 100 Showed Up

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Denver International Airport hosted a dealership career fair this weekend in hopes of seeing 5,000 potential hires enthusiastic. But only about 100 turned up, underscoring the recruiting challenges businesses across the country continue to face.

“We have a very ambitious goal of having about 5,000 people show up today,” said the president of the Denver Concessionaires Association (DCA) Dennis Deslongchamp told ABC 7, who helped organize the event at the United Club at Empower Field in Mile High.

Only a hundred people eventually attended Saturday’s event, Deslongchamp said.

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The job fair aimed to fill approximately 1,000 vacant positions at the airport in stores, restaurants and other businesses. These openings must also be filled as soon as possible, as dealerships will revert to normal opening hours from November 1.

“We have everything from entry-level positions to senior management available here,” Deslongchamp said.

Skyport Hospitality has over 150 positions to fill on its own.

Interior of Denver International Airport with travelers, shops and restaurants. One of the main features of the architecture is the fiberglass roof covered with Teflon. (Interior of Denver International Airport with travelers, shops and restaurants. IStock (iStock / iStock)

“We are at such a staff shortage that we would be grateful for just five, but we are looking to hire over 150,” said Elisa Lalama, director of human resources at Skyport Hospitality.

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“We expected the masses to come knocking on our door,” added Derik Mortenson, director of operations at Concessions International.

Concessions International has eight concessions, including restaurants like Chick-Fil-A, at the airport, and is looking to fill 38 jobs. But only two people applied, ABC 7 reported.

“These are very physical jobs, physical jobs, and there’s just a change in what’s possible today to earn income,” Mortenson added. “It’s just hard for physical operations to fill positions that used to … had stacks of applications.”

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The job fair featured representatives from nearly 170 dealerships, and Deslongchamp said he wanted to give potential candidates the chance to secure career resources and even the coronavirus vaccine. He added that the airport would continue to hold job fairs, despite the low turnout.

FILE PHOTO: Travelers wearing face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) collect their luggage at the airport in Denver, Colorado, U.S. November 24, 2020. REUTERS / Kevin Mohatt / File Photo (Reuters)

“We hope to make it an annual event,” he said.

Other retail stores and restaurants across the country have struggled to find employees in recent months, leading some to permanently close their stores or reduce their hours of operation.

A restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri, announced on Facebook last week that it was shutting down permanently after 46 years in the business because it could not find staff.

Another New Jersey restaurant owner Jason Kramer of Doo-Wop Drive-In told Fox News last month he struggled to fill positions and blamed prolonged unemployment benefits lack of volunteer workers.

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“It got worse. We struggled all summer, and I feel bad for every restaurant owner, bar owner. It’s just bad,” Kramer said “Fox & Friends” in September.


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