Labor shortage, remote work, job fairs and child care woes in mid-Michigan

SAGNAW, MI — Mid-Michigan employers have thousands of open positions, including remote work opportunities, but job candidates are in short supply.

From employment fairs to an in-depth look at the labor shortage and workers’ child care woes, here are some recent headlines you might have missed:

Morley Companies Inc.

Morley Companies Inc. is hosting a job fair Wednesday, June 12, 2019, at 4075 Bay Road in Saginaw Township.Andrew Whitaker | file

Saginaw’s Morley hiring up to 1,100 people, including remote workers

Morley, one of Saginaw County’s largest employers, aims to fill 500 open positions now and hire up to 600 more through the end of October.

In a news release, company officials said “new and expanded business engagements are causing Morley to experience a surge in employment opportunities serving its Fortune 500 clientele.”

The majority of these jobs are based in the Great Lakes Bay Region and include remote work opportunities, the release states. The company also offers flexible scheduling and entry-level positions that pay as much as $16 per hour.

Morley has open positions in a number of service areas, including administrative support, document clerks, automotive technical support and talent acquisition. Many of these positions offer the ability to work in person or remotely.

Flexible scheduling is also available, including the option to work part time, full time, second shift, or four 10-hour days instead of the traditional five eight-hour days, according to company officials.

A virtual hiring event is scheduled to take place Thursday, Sept. 2, and another is being planned for Friday, Sept. 17.

Read the full story here.

Santa at Bronner's

Santa Claus won’t be visiting Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth this holiday season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but children can still catch a glimpse of Kris Kringle, virtually.Kaytie Boomer | file

Bronner’s wants you to work where it’s Christmas every day

Dec. 25 is months away, but if you’re already counting down the days until Christmas, Bronner’s may have just the job for you.

Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, a Frankenmuth landmark and the world’s largest Christmas store, is hosting a job fair from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8.

Bronner’s is hiring for a variety of part-time, seasonal positions including sales clerks, cashiers/packers, customer service, catalog operators, catalog fulfillment, embroidery machine operators, carts and baskets, ornament lettering and snack area. Job seekers should come through the store’s south entrance and go to the program center in section two for on-the-spot interviews during the job fair.

“We’re looking for employees who can commit to Bronner’s through Dec. 31,” Crissy Dutcher, salesroom and catalog/internet fulfillment personnel manager, said in a statement.

Read the full story here.

Chemical leak contained at  HSC

An aerial view of Hemlock Semiconductor.

Hemlock Semiconductor will hire temporary workers full time, nearly doubling its workforce

Beginning in January, polysilicon maker Hemlock Semiconductor, will transition temporary workers to full-time staff and assume direct operational control of polysilicon finishing operations at its Saginaw County facility.

Company leaders announced the plan in a news release. They said consumer demand is growing more predictable, lessening the need for its “flexible staffing model” with Qualified Staffing of Saginaw. The move will nearly double its workforce, officials said, but exact numbers were not provided.

The temporary staffing agency will continue to support HSC by providing expanded flexible staffing across the company’s operations through a temp-to-permanent model. Starting Jan. 11, a majority of QSS personnel will begin working directly for HSC, gaining expanded benefits and additional career opportunities, the release states.

HSC produces hyper-pure polysilicon, the foundational material in semiconductors and solar panels. It is the largest polysilicon producer in the U.S. and one of five worldwide supplying the global semiconductor market. The company aims to integrate finishing operations into the rest of its production process and assume full ownership of its core products and production, according to the release.

Read the full story here.

LOCAL EATS: Frankenmuth's Bavarian Inn

A view of the chicken included with the Ultimate Family Style Bavarian Dinner available at the Bavarian Inn located at 713 South Main Street in Frankenmuth on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (Kaytie Boomer | Boomer |

Get a free chicken dinner and a job at Frankenmuth’s Bavarian Inn

Apply for a job with Bavarian Inn Restaurant & Lodge and you might get a free chicken dinner out of it.

The iconic restaurant in Michigan’s Little Bavaria has been hosting hiring events throughout the summer and offering free chicken dinners to applicants.

Recent job postings at Bavarian Inn properties include water slide attendant, tour and travel coordinator, shuttle bus driver, sales consultant, maintenance grounds worker, retail supervisor, retail sales clerks, chicken processor, line/prep cook, gift shop clerk/barista, housekeeper, guest services and reservations associate and more.

“The free meals, the chicken dinners, we’ve actually been doing that all summer,” said Martha Zehnder Kaczynski, vice president/fourth generation owner. “We started that in June for the first 50 people that interviewed, and it’s just kind of an extra way to say ‘thank you for coming’ and something that’s sort of fun to set us apart from the other job fairs and interviewers out there.”

Read the full story here.

‘It’s really hard to find child care’ working Saginaw mother says

A staff member feeds a child and watches another snack at Covenant HealthCare Children’s Center in Saginaw on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021. (Kaytie Boomer | Boomer |

A lack of affordable child care is keeping some Michigan parents out of the workforce, a pilot program aims to fix that

Finding and affording reliable child care is a constant struggle for Saginaw mom Tiara Graham.

Making sure that her three children, ages 7, 5 and 2, are cared for while she’s at work has been a challenge for years. Virtual learning during the pandemic only compounded it.

“It’s really hard,” said Graham, 28. “It’s really hard to find child care.”

Graham works full time for a Saginaw-area nonprofit. Her fiance works full-time, too. They make too much money to be eligible for state assistance with child care costs, but not enough to afford it out of pocket. So they work different shifts, rely on family members who are willing to babysit, and switch shifts with understanding coworkers so that someone’s always available to be with the kids.

“I have considered not working, but it’s like, if I don’t work, how are we paying our bills? We still have rent. We still have water. We still have Consumers. We still have kids to take care of, food to put on the table,.” she said. “Quitting isn’t an option.”

Graham said she and other parents like her would benefit if more employers invested in child care, offering it as an employee benefit or even on site. She said her employer is flexible when she needs to switch her shifts around, but that’s not the case for some working parents struggling to make ends meet.

“I would just like for jobs to be more understanding, especially now with the pandemic,” she said. “I’m not the only one who’s not approved for state funding, and I’m not the only one who struggles financially with paying for child care.”

It turns out that some area employers, grappling with a labor shortage caused in part by a lack of affordable child care options, are doing just that.

Read the full story here.

Jobs hiring all over in mid-Michigan

A now hiring sign sets outside of Wendy’s located at 4525 State St. in Saginaw on Friday, July 23, 2021. (Kaytie Boomer | Boomer |

8,000 open jobs in mid-Michigan and a labor shortage. The reason is complicated

With people spending more time at home over the last year and a half than ever before and many homeowners using pandemic stimulus checks to make improvements, Cody Sweatland’s heating and cooling business has been booming.

“There was this rush of work like I’ve never seen before,” said Sweatland, who owns Saginaw-based Valley Heating and Cooling. “I started to take a look at my workload and, all of a sudden, we were months and months out.”

The small business owner found himself working 10 to 12 hours a day seven days a week and still couldn’t keep up with demand. But hiring help proved to be just as challenging.

“I think I had four or five people come in and they would work for a couple days, everything seemed to be going well. I would offer them a wage, they would agree. And then, you know, within a week, they would just stop showing up,” he said. “Normally, I try to hire people with some experience. I got to the point this year where I was willing to take anyone.”

Sweatland’s not the only employer struggling to keep people on his payroll.

There were thousands of open jobs in mid-Michigan as of late July. New jobs posted to Pure Michigan Talent Connect in and around Saginaw County just in the last week include construction project manager, electrical engineer, business account specialist, cook, cashier, physician, office clerk, housekeeper, substitute teacher, and phlebotomist.

“Right now, in our region, there’s about 8,000 open jobs,” said Chris Rishko, CEO of Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works, referring specifically to Saginaw, Bay, Midland, Gratiot and Isabella counties. “I don’t think you can walk down a street anywhere and not see a ‘help wanted’ sign in a window.”

Jobs are available, but workers are in short supply.

“We’ve had job fairs where we have 27 employers and we’ve had two job seekers show up,” Rishko said.

The reason for this labor shortage is multifaceted and was in the making even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full story here.

Texas Roadhouse hiring for new Saginaw County location

Texas Roadhouse is hiring now for its new Saginaw County location expected to open along the Tittabawassee Road corridor this September. The new Texas Roadhouse restaurant will be located in Kochville Township at 2508 Tittabawassee Road, the former site of Pier 1 Imports, which closed in 2020. Demolition work began at the site in late March, and the work is expected to wrap up by the end of summer. (Jake May | May

Texas Roadhouse hiring 200 for its new Saginaw restaurant

Texas Roadhouse is hiring now for its new Saginaw County location expected to open along the Tittabawassee Road corridor this September, a company spokesperson told MLive in July.

The new Texas Roadhouse restaurant will be located in Kochville Township at 2508 Tittabawassee Road, the former site of Pier 1 Imports, which closed in 2020. Demolition work began at the site in late March, and construction is expected to wrap up by the end of summer.

The new 7,462 square-foot restaurant will have seating for 300 and will employ approximately 200 people: 60% part-time workers and 40% full-time employees, Norton said.

“We are now hiring,” said Texas Roadhouse spokesperson Amanda Norton. “Texas Roadhouse offers competitive pay, based on position and experience. We offer great benefits, flexible work schedules, and a fun place to work.”

Read the full story here.

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