Most people look forward to having a few days off over the holidays but for many local people, the holidays offer the opportunity to earn extra money working seasonal jobs. Local retailers often hire extra help for the holiday season, starting before Thanksgiving and continuing right through the New Year.
At the in Waterford, stores ranging from to the hired dozens of additional workers to help unload trucks, stock shelves, run cash registers, and greet customers. Delivery companies also hire additional workers over the holidays. UPS in Waterford, for instance, hired part-time driver helpers to work three to four hours a day loading and unloading packages.
Labor Ready, an employment agency in New London, says seasonal job opportunities abound through the holidays and pick up again around Valentine’s Day. This year, the agency provided laborers to help out at local Christmas tree farms, sales people to work at stores such as CVS, and 130 seasonal workers for the Waterford Wal-Mart in preparation for Black Friday who stay on through the holidays.
With New London’s unemployment rate hovering at around 7.4 percent, Labor Ready has had no difficulty meeting the demand for extra hands on deck this season.
“The ratio of workers versus jobs is unfortunately one to ten--one job for every 10 people,” says Jessica Fernandez, sales operations specialist at Labor Ready. “Unfortunately, [seasonal jobs are] only temporary, sometimes just a three-day project.”
In some cases, though, seasonal jobs can turn into permanent positions. Becky Vanluvanee, 23, was hired as a seasonal employee at Target in Waterford just before Thanksgiving in 2010. At the time, Vanluvanee had just graduated from college and was looking to move from her parents’ home in Waterford into her own apartment in Salem.
“I really needed a job I could afford the rent payment with,” Vanluvanee says.
What started out as a three-month stint turned into a full-time job as a guest service team member at the store.
“They asked me to stay on after my 90 days and they trained me in other areas of the store,” says Vanluvanee. “I’ve only been there for a year and a month now and I’m a trainer already.”
Indeed, Vanluvanee has helped train some of the 50 or so temporary employees that Target hired to help out this holiday season. Similarly, Fernandez says that a number of people Labor Ready has placed temporarily have also managed to turn their seasonal jobs into full-time positions.
“[Businesses] have taken on some workers and it works out for the best for the both of us,” she says. “Our goal is to try to place people overall.”