New year offers new job opportunities in SWFL
As Southwest Florida recovers from Hurricane Ian, jobs are returning.
But that's only part of the story.
Businesses continue to sprout – and expand – creating new jobs, as they did before Ian hit in September.
In Collier County, CareerSource Southwest Florida will hold its next job fair on Jan. 24 at its Naples Center, off Horseshoe Drive, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Participating employers include:
Collier County Public Schools
Mo Better Garage
Moe's Southwest Grill
Seagate Development Group
Valvoline Instant Oil Change
Uline looks to hire 150 employees
Newcomer Uline Corp. is looking for about 150 employees to staff its new warehouse and distribution center, east of Collier Boulevard, near Collier County's Paradise Coast Sports Complex. It plans two on-site job fairs: Feb. 11 and March 11.
The company is a leading distributor of shipping and packaging materials to businesses in the United States.
Uline's expansive new state-of-the-art, air-conditioned warehouse, spanning nearly 1 million square feet, sits at 3830 Uline Drive, north of the sports complex, near Interstate 75.
"We want people to get a better idea of who we are, to understand what the commute will be like. To see our building," said Brad Heisner, the Naples branch manager.
Hiring is already under way, with a targeted opening in April.
The biggest need: Warehouse workers – about 130 of them.
"Most of the hiring we've done thus far is for our second shift, night operations. Those folks we plan to bring them on board in late January, so we can begin stocking shelves," Heisner said.
While there are still dozens of jobs to fill, he's not fretting it.
"Our initial hiring efforts have been successful," Heisner said. "I'm actually optimistic that we will be able to find enough."
Pay for warehouse workers starts at $25 an hour (with an extra $2 per hour paid to the night shift, working from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.).
Uline also needs warehouse managers and mechanics, as well as more support staff, from custodians and logisticians to operations analysts and human resources experts.
More information can be found on available jobs at uline.jobs/florida.
When the warehouse opens, it's expected to have about 200 employees, with about 50 transferring from other Uline locations, Heisner said, to help set the tone and train new hires.
"We do have several years of growth built into this building," he said. "As our business grows, we plan to add more people."
Other businesses in the hiring mode
The Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee will host an on-site hiring event Tuesday, in the Seminole Center behind the hotel.
Participants must submit an application in advance of the event at gotoworkhappy.com.
Positions are available in food and beverage, hotel operations and maintenance, as well as in slot operations and table games (experience required).
In its marketing for the event, the hotel states it's hiring for "attitude and personality."
American House plans a four-day job fair from Jan. 23-26 at its Bonita Springs senior living community, off Long Fellow Lane.
Myriad other employers continue to hire daily across Southwest Florida.
A recent search on Employ Florida, the state's online job portal, showed more than 10,000 jobs are still available in the five-county region that includes Lee and Collier, despite the devastation caused by Ian.
The Lee Health hospital system has the most jobs advertised on the state's website, at more than 1,070.
Competitors rank second and third: Community Health with about 590 openings and NCH Healthcare with roughly 580.
Plans are still unfolding for the annual Southwest Florida Spring Regional Career Fair, to be held at the Suncoast Credit Union Arena on Florida SouthWestern's main campus in Fort Myers.
State data showed Southwest Florida, by far, lost the most jobs of any region in Florida due to Ian.
Many of the lost jobs have come back – or will – with the reopening of businesses, especially in lesser-hit Collier County. Several of the region's major resorts remain closed, including The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, which is still under repair.
In November, Southwest Florida's unemployment rate stood at 3.3%.
The state's next jobs report is Jan. 20, which will shed more light on the recovery and employment post-Ian.