In Port Aransas, considerable progress has been made during the recovery after Harvey, but the city is facing challenges rebuilding the town’s workforce. Many businesses are dealing with a shortage of people filling vacant jobs.
One business feeling the low workforce impact is Islander Souvenirs. Pam Luebke who is a general manager at the souvenir shop, says they are encouraging any and all qualified candidates to apply.
"I think Harvey helped take away a lot of our workforce when he took away a lot of the affordable living around Port Aransas," Luebke said.
However, this is the time of year when tourism in Port Aransas usually begins picking up. That means a more significant demand to fill jobs in the area.
According to Jeffrey Hentz, the president of the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce, only about 25-30% of Port A’s permanent residents have returned after hurricane Harvey. As a result, that has left a lot of job vacancies as businesses gear up for the summer tourist season.
"We don’t know how many of those employees that did work here prior to August 25th, who have permanently left the area," Hentz said. "And we’re starting to think to find out now that it might be more significant than we expected."
That’s why many businesses are scrambling to hire more people. Luebke adds, the demand and need for more workers are there, and will only continue to grow as summer approaches.
"We’ve seen an amazing amount of people coming to Port A just to help out, bringing their business in," Luebke said. "So the need is there for employees because we do have the customers."
The Chamber of Commerce says they are tossing around ideas to help bring the workforce back to Port A. One idea is to hold a job fair soon.