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Labor shortage impacting Mankato, southern Minnesota businesses

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 6:35 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2021 at 11:07 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Minnesota recognizes Small Business Week this week, during a time when many companies are facing a labor shortage.

Pagliai’s Pizza is one of several small businesses in Mankato feeling the effects of the shortage.

General Manager Liza Wilde said it has impacted the restaurant’s hours.

”Right off the bat we’re closed Sundays and Mondays which has disappointed a lot of our guests. So that’s just number one then and there. The stress of not knowing if we’re going to have enough staff for the day,” she said.

Wilde said they’d like to hire at least three to four more people.

“We hold our breaths, and then we’ve gotten really, really lucky. No major crises that haven’t been able to be averted. Everybody on my team is learning new positions and doing whatever they can to pitch in and help,” she added.

Small businesses aren’t the only ones feeling the effects of the labor shortage.

Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R - Minnesota) hosted a job fair at South Central College, where over 25 businesses participated.

He said he plans to hold more in the future.

“I’d like to see these done all across the district in different regional locations. We’re going to continue to do it. There’s a real need for some of our small businesses, especially to get the workforce in,” he said.

Patrick Hull, Director of Facilities at Bethany Lutheran College, said normally he doesn’t attend job fairs but decided to in order to recruit more people.

“I’ve got four positions on my facilities staff I need to fill, one housekeeping and three maintenance tech positions. The job market, as we all know has been kind of crazy lately, so it’s getting tough to find people to fill those positions,” Hull said.

Wilde, who was recently hired, said the job market is wide open in Mankato.

“It was super easy. The application process is easy. I think everywhere I know of, you can apply online, you can walk in, you can even make a phone call and just probably have a walk-in interview anywhere on these blocks,” she said.

Wilde said things are looking up; they are starting to get more applications in.

“We would love to have a full staff. We would love to be open seven days a week. We would love to extend our hours. We want to see all of our guests and be happy,” she said.

KEYC News Now reached out to Sen. Tina Smith (D - Minnesota), but she did not respond.

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