Hardly hit by the pandemic, staff and companies are on the lookout for methods to adapt – CBS Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The pandemic has hit our region like an economic tsunami.
We’ve lost nearly 80,000 jobs, and major industries like leisure and hospitality may never be the same.
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When Nick Fiorina lost his job due to COVID-19 cuts last May, his mind immediately turned to his 3-year-old son, Lorenzo.
“As a single father and knowing that I had to take care of him, I just digged in,” said Nick.
He was certainly not alone.
In the first weeks and months of the pandemic, southwestern Pennsylvania cut more than 200,000 jobs. And while most of those jobs have returned, 78,000 never have and never can. Even after the end of the pandemic.
Unemployment in the region has fallen from 20 percent last April to a seemingly more acceptable 6.7 percent today, but that number is deceptive.
This is because around 50,000 laid-off workers have left the workforce and given up looking for work entirely.
“The worst parts of the local economy, like the rest of the nation, are leisure and hospitality. Full service restaurants are still 50 percent or more lower than a year ago, ”said Chris Briem, researcher at the University of Pittsburgh.
Main street shops, stores, restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues are struggling and will continue to struggle, abandoning countless workers for the foreseeable future.
Manufacturing has also suffered a hard blow.
When Nick lost his job at a specialty goods company, he began to move into other areas.
“My mom and dad taught me from a young age how to be a chameleon, to adapt to everything in life, and to be flexible, especially in the workforce because it’s always changing,” Nick said.
Much of the region’s future today lies in areas such as healthcare, technology, and financial services.
Now the challenge for laid-off workers is to reinvent themselves, get the education they need, and try to find a new niche.
“Luckily I came to CareerLink and they helped with everything,” said Nick.
At the federally funded PA CareerLink vocational training center, Nick found advice, leads, and skill honing in bogus interviews and resume writing.
And he discovered some strengths that he didn’t know he had.
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“You may not realize the skills you have from doing this one thing for so long, but it turns out it really applies to other areas and industries,” said Sean Stanbro of PA CareerLink.
Nick recently got a new job thanks to what he learned at PA CareerLink.
Today he is a customer service representative at JPMorgan Chase Bank in Shadyside.
Nick says it’s a better job, pays more than his old age, and enough to support himself and Lorenzo.
“I knew financial services were going to where I can make a living and make a living. I would be on solid ground and stable again, ”said Nick.
Would you like to reinvent yourself in the workforce? Here are some links to get you started:
COVID also dealt a severe blow on Main Street, where retailers, restaurants and gyms have been particularly hard hit by shutdowns, restrictions and a cautious audience.
“There are many jobs that just won’t be in the restaurant business,” said Curtis Gamble, head chef and owner of the station.
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The Station restaurant laid off half of its staff and is now relying on digital public relations to completely ditch indoor dining in favor of subscription meals and large format dinners.
Gamble believes this is the wave of the future as Millennials and GenZers prefer eating at home over white tablecloth service.
“We had to completely rethink the way we interact with people,” said Gamble.
Like many retailers, Roberta Weissburg Leathers in Shadyside has upgraded their digital edition to keep in touch with old customers and reach new ones. Weissburg has online shopping and email advertising deals for their leather specialties, groceries and jewelry. It now reaches 3,000 customers every week.
“You could get it on Amazon, but you can’t try it on on Amazon. You can come here and not only try on the necklace in person, but I’ll also show you the scarf, gloves or earrings that go perfectly with it, ”she said.
The key is to adapt to the pandemic and hopefully thrive in a post-COVID world.
Pittsburgh FIT has expanded spatial indoor workouts to include online instructions for group classes and face-to-face trading like Weisberg and is open to new ideas and trends.
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“I think one of the most important things I’ve learned is to keep my mind open and learn and be ready to take risks and experiment with things that we really have never done before,” she said.