Work search requirements not helping Midstate restaurants struggling with staffing shortages

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — It’s been a month since Pennsylvania brought back work search requirements for those who get unemployment. That means in order for people to get benefits they have to show they’re applying for jobs.

However, for local restaurants it doesn’t seem to be helping alleviate the staffing shortages they’re struggling with. CEO of the PA Restaurant and Lodging Association John Longstreet says he’s heard similar stories from multiple restaurants.

“They’re filling out applications, they’re setting up interviews, and they’re not showing up for the interviews,” Longstreet said.

He doesn’t think the work search requirement is the answer to staffing issues anyways. “It’s not going to fix the problem. There’s a lot of reasons why people aren’t coming back to work and that’s only a very small part of it,” Longstreet said.

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Those other reasons, he says, are things like a lack of childcare and other pandemic funding that’s helping people go without jobs.

But he also says the PA Restaurant and Lodging Association is doing everything it can to attract people to the industry because this is a problem that touches everyone.

“It’s a huge impact, not only on the restaurant itself that’s trying to pick up the pieces from this mitigation that they’ve faced for the last 18 months, but it’s also on the patrons that really have a pent up demand to go out and have a night out,” Longstreet said.

One of the things he pointed to was that they’re trying to get restaurant workers better benefits like healthcare. They’re lobbying the state government to try to make that happen.

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