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Businesses in Folsom, California, lamented about a lack of workers to local Chamber of Commerce. So Sarah Aquino, the vice mayor of Folsom, met with the organization’s leaders to develop a plan — a new campaign that encourages people to take a part-time job for the next six months at the local businesses that have been hardest hit by the labor shortage.
“The idea is to encourage retirees, students, stay-at-home moms and dads, and anyone who is reliable and can spare about 20 hours per week to help fill some of these positions, at least temporarily, as a method of helping Folsom businesses through the sluggish post-pandemic economy,” Aquino told Gold Country Media.
“Our hope is to bridge this gap,” Joe Gagliardi, CEO of the Folsom Chamber of Commerce, told CBS 13 Sacramento. “It’s really a short-term solution where people who have time and are committed to the community want to help. We are not talking about people that are working for free, we are talking about people who have time on their hands that they might be able to allocate that to some of our businesses.”
It seems that Aquino is trying to lead by example. She has picked up a side gig as a hostess and dining room supervisor at Back Bistro, a local bar and restaurant.
“I’m actually having a lot of fun, I have no restaurant experience,” Aquino told CBS 13. “I said hey, I don’t have any restaurant experience but I’m a hard worker and a fast learner and if you could use my help, I will step in.”
Aquino, who already works full-time as a life and health insurance broker in her family’s insurance business in addition to her duties on the city council, committed to 20 hours per week for six months at the restaurant. She hopes her efforts will encourage others to do the same.
“There are a lot of businesses who could use the help right now,” Aquino told Gold Country Media.
The labor shortage, which a Washington Post analysis says is the result of people reassessing where and how they work after the pandemic closed stores and had people staying home, has caused businesses around the U.S. to look to for other solutions — including higher wages and additional benefits — to fill empty roles. Insider reports that teen employment rates are at their highest level since 2008 and more than 2.5% of retired workers went back to the workplace in October, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
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