“We have a very ambitious goal of seeing around 5,000 people show up today,” said Dennis Deslongchamp, president of the Denver Concessionaires Association (DCA).
His team and management at Denver International Airport helped organize a career fair at United Club. It included representatives from nearly 170 dealerships, such as shops and restaurants.
“We have everything from entry-level positions to senior management available here,” Deslongchamp said.
The aim was to hire around 1,000 workers to fill positions at the airport, especially now that concessions must return to their
standard opening hours are November 1st.
“We are at such a staff shortage that we would be grateful for only five, but we are looking to hire over 150,” said Elisa Lalama, director of human resources at Skyport Hospitality. The company operates dealerships at DIA like Shake Shack and Snooze AM Eatery.
Deslongchamp said he didn’t want to host just any job fair. He wanted potential employees to get career resources and even have a chance to get the shot.
But as the day went on, dealers quickly realized that they would have to keep looking elsewhere to fill their vacancies.
“We expected the masses to come knocking on our door,” said Concessions International director of operations Derik Mortenson.
The company has eight concessions at the airport, including Chick-Fil-A. They must hire at least 38 workers, and only two people have applied.
“People say they need jobs here in Denver, and we were going to provide jobs for a lot of people today, [but] we didn’t, ”said Jerona Poole, deputy director of DIA’s Chick-Fil-A.
The low participation rate only reassured these dealers about the evolution of the labor market and the difficulty of hiring people for these jobs.
“These are very physical jobs, physical jobs, and there’s just a change in what’s possible today to earn income,” Mortenson said. “It’s just hard for the brick and mortar operations to fill the positions that used to … had stacks of applications.” “
Deslongchamp says about 100 people showed up at the job fair, but he doesn’t see it as a failure. Instead, it’s a starting point for the bigger and better with, hopefully, better participation rates.
“We hope to make it an annual event,” he said.