Businesses and schools spending money on hiring ads, minimal response leads to cutbacks

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COLORADO SPRINGS — ‘Help Wanted’ signs can be found virtually everywhere in the Pikes Peak Region, with businesses and school districts struggling to fill positions.

“No one wants to work,” said Farooq Kaiser, owner of Jasmine Flowers and Gifts in Colorado Springs.

The flower shop used to have a workforce of 12 employees, but now they’re being forced to make ends meet with just three employees. Kaiser said he’s looking for designers and drivers and until those positions are filled, his revenue is taking a hit.

“We cannot handle too many orders, so we have to minimize,” Kaiser said.

They’re not the only ones cutting back. D49 continues to face a bus driver shortage and if things don’t change, the district says the school year will start with fewer routes and even cutting most transportation for extra-curricular activities.

“Our field trips have been cut drastically almost all because we don’t have the drivers to drive the field trip,” said D49 Transportation, Director Jack Pietraallo. “Normally we would be in the 70 route range, and right now, we are starting the year with 58 routes.”

D49 has increased entry-level pay just to get people to work for them, starting wage is now $16.29 without a Commercial Drivers License required. D49 drivers receive a benefits package that includes a signing bonus of up to $1,000 that begins upon obtaining a CDL.

D11 is also facing a shortage of drivers, they’re putting up hiring fairs and are constantly updating their website on potential new jobs.

“We always face bus driver shortages at the beginning of the school year and this year we are facing some significant bus driver shortages,” said Devra Ashby with D11.

To learn more about D49 available positions, visit their website.

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