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Need a job? Openings exist, despite -- or because of -- COVID-19
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Need a job? Openings exist, despite -- or because of -- COVID-19

COVID-19 continues to affect life in the Quad-Cities, but it's also creating jobs in certain sectors.

Per Mar Security Services has been getting requests for security officers to watch businesses slowed by coronavirus closures, and others, like certain retail stores that have seen an increase in business as the pandemic continues, Brian Duffy, the security firm’s chief operating officer, said Monday.

Temporary security officer services are in demand right now, Duffy said.

Per Mar expects it may need more staff for its permanent clients as circumstances changes because of the coronavirus.

Applicants would need to pass a background check and drug screening, he said. Experience in security is preferred, but people who are hired will receive training.

As a precaution, interviews will not be in person, he said.

Per Mar has a presence in a number of states, but Duffy said many of the openings will likely be in the Quad-Cities.

“I think that’s actually where we’ve seen the most because we’re so well known here,” he said.

Applicants can apply on the Per Mar Website, or its Facebook page.

Hy-Vee is hiring because of the increased demand for groceries during the pandemic, according to a news release issued by the grocery chain.

The company needs people for temporary, part-time hourly work, including restocking, cleaning and sanitizing, the release, issued Friday, said. The recruitment applies to its stores across its eight-state coverage area.

Anyone interested can look at available jobs at the Hy-Vee website, or by texting SMILES to 97211.

Earlier this month, Hy-Vee announced it would close its four distribution hubs that support its online delivery service -- one of them in Urbandale, Iowa.

Tuesday, company spokeswoman Christina Gayman said the service would be shifted to individual stores in affected areas, and that the decision would not affect the Quad-Cities. Hy-Vee stores here were already handling online orders themselves.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to Hy-Vee delaying the transition of the service back to stores by about a week, Gayman said. It is expected to start the week of March 30. The pandemic will not postpone the closure of the hubs, which is scheduled for May 6.

Walmart issued a similar news release Monday, saying the retail giant is hiring nationwide to fill 150,000 positions. People interested can look here.

Job hunting and unemployment resources are also available from the state governments.

Iowa has a job board, and other resources available, including how to access unemployment insurance if affected by the outbreak, spokeswoman Martha Garcia-Tappa said. They can also call 866-239-0843 for more information.

“There are companies like Hy-Vee, Good Samaritans and Walmart, a lot of companies looking for people,” she said.

Garcia-Tappa also encouraged job seekers to “like” and check the Iowa Works Facebook pages. In this area there are specific pages for Davenport, Muscatine, Clinton and Maquoketa.

In Illinois, people looking for jobs can also check a job board and other resources.

Work is also still available in the usual places-- monster.com, indeed.com and other sources, Michelle Lewis, the Quad Cities Chamber's director of regional business development, said. Many companies that needed workers before the outbreak still need workers now.

They’re looking for forklift and truck drivers, packing and assembly workers, plant managers and engineers, she said.

The challenge for people seeking work is to know what employers need, Paula M. Arends, workforce innovation director for Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, said.

“What do people need the most now, and how can you help them get it?” she said.

Grocery stores, carry-out food companies, drug stores, hardware stores and security services are or may see an increased call for their services, she said.

“In the past couple of days, some employers are offering increased pay for new and existing workers,” Arends said. “Clearly, the openings we see growing right now are in jobs that have a lot of contact with the public. There is a risk involved, and individuals who work in these roles need to ensure that they are following the health recommendations of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) closely.”

For those whose skill sets are not in demand right now while the pandemic is underway, Arends suggested readying the cover letter and the resume, researching potential employers and other proactive activities.

She also suggested considering careers in news fields. Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, and Black Hawk College provide training for many.

“When the corona dust clears, we will return to a job market that is in need of skilled workers,” Arends said.

Kwik Trip, which operates several Kwik Star convenience stores in the Quad-Cities, is also hiring. It had an open interview day planned that has since been canceled because of COVID-19.

Its need, however, is still present, company spokesman Steve Wrobel said Monday.

Kwik Trip is looking for permanent employees, he said, but will consider people who are only needing short-term work because of coronavirus, he said.

“We will absolutely consider and listen to them,” Wrobel said.

He said the company would hope people looking for temporary work would consider staying with Kwik Trip if hired.

“It is a good place to work,” Wrobel said.

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