March 2022 Business Connection

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Business Connection Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce

Congratulations to CEO Bill Marcum, who celebrated 10 years with the Chamber in February!

Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce Bill Marcum CEO

k March 2022

Volume 14 • Issue 3 Business Connection is published monthly by the Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce 105 N. Minor Road • Kelso, WA 98626


Bill Marcum, CEO Julie Rinard, Project Manager Pam Fierst, Office Manager

Help wanted – Really, help!


eems not that long ago we were talking jobs, jobs, jobs... more businesses, more manufacturing, more entrepreneurs. Today, we’re asking, “Where are the people to fill the jobs we have available at our local businesses?” Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Teri, owner of Teri’s Restaurant, Trina of Mill City Grill, Elizabeth at Fiesta Bonita and Mike with Summerland Catering. Each told me they have been running help wanted ads in all the places they know that can drive people looking for work toward employment with them. The effort has produced basically zero interest. I contacted Mike with Summerland Catering about our Pillars of Strength, Business and Education Awards Banquet May 4. We’re expecting 250 people and I would like it to be a sit-down meal. Mike said he did not think he would be able to meet my request due to a lack of staff. He said he sent texts and emails to more than 40 people who had worked for Summerland prior to COVID asking each of them to return to work. He even offered a variety of new or special benefits and only four responded.


360-423-8400 To advertise, call Bill Marcum 360-423-8400 or Ad Deadline 20th of Each Month

In a Facebook post recently, I noticed Teri had several positions open. She told me she had not received one response to the jobs posted. I heard the same thing from Trina and Elizabeth. Where are the great workers who were employed by these restaurants 20 months ago? Do they have other jobs? Did they move out of state? Did they decide to not work at all? Retired? Living on unemployment? Talking with business leaders in the transportation arena, like Signature Transport, Lemmons Trucking and even Lowes Home Improvement, they all have the same issue. Plenty of jobs and no one to work. Scott Bailey, regional economist for Washington Employment Security Department, provides labor market updates for Cowlitz County that show there are more jobs than people to work those jobs by a significant number. Apparently, 3,796 less people are working in For more Help Wanted, see page 2

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