Grants for Lee County companies recruiting high-wage workers; hiring event Thursday

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Construction workers. Credit: WINK News

From engineers to computer technicians, businesses could soon get paid to hire high-wage positions in a bid to attract the best and brightest to Lee County. One local business is even having a hiring event Thursday.

New home construction is blowing up in Southwest Florida, but between the high demand and a shortage of workers, one company is getting squeezed from both sides. Raymond Building Supply is hosting multiple hiring events starting Thursday, and new hires could start their positions immediately.

Not much experience is necessary because the company wants to fill entry-level positions.
It’s currently looking for truss assemblers, yard associates, truck drivers and more, all because the building industry has been trampled by the demand for housing.

Mike Stevens, the president of the supply company, says they are really trying to keep up, so that’s why they’re bringing everyone in for walk-in interviews and may hire people on the spot.

“It’s really, really concerning to us that the community is suffering,”: Stevens said. “We’re suffering. The building industry is suffering right now, for trying to provide housing and shelter for the people of Southwest Florida, we’re struggling. So we’re appealing… for a little bit of help. And for that help, we’re going to give you a nice job with great benefits.”

The job event goes from 8 a.m. until noon at Raymond Building Supply located at 7751 Bayshore Road in North Fort Myers. The company says it will also host more hiring events on Thursdays while the need for employees remains.

The Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency wants smart, well-qualified people to make their way to the Fort Myers area and apply for jobs, and it’s giving out incentives for businesses in the hopes of encouraging this.

The CRA is offering grant payments to Fort Myers companies that recruit applicants for high-wage full-time jobs. Not just any jobs, but particularly in areas like engineering and life science industries, light assembly, computing and technology.

Stevens says any help is good help, but incentives like these are not necessarily needed.

“Well, we will hire you, you don’t have to pay me to hire you,” Stevens said. “We’re hurting so bad. We will take good help. And, you know, while that’s a great program, we really don’t need to be incentivized to hire the people. We just need people.”

At 9 a.m., the CRA’s board of commissioners will discuss the progress of this program.

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