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Local job market beginning to pick up traction

Local job market beginning to pick up traction

As enhanced federal unemployment benefits expire, one private employment firm is working to fill some 250 jobs across the Rochester region for employers in a range of industries.


Lindsay McCutchen, president and founder of Career Start Workforce Management Group, said there are a number of jobs available, many of which are direct hire.

While many industries were on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, work is now picking up, with jobs available in the fields of manufacturing, nursing and healthcare, hospitality and administration.

“Things are going like gangbusters,” McCutchen said.

That is especially true for industries like manufacturing who may have had some slow-downs due to supplier delays or trade issues, she noted. Healthcare is also seeing an increased need, as is the hospitality industry as colleges begin to re-open.

“The need is increasing, and the flood gates are opening,” McCutchen said. “Companies are open and ready for business.”

To help meet the demand, Career Start is holding in-person interviews at its location on Cambridge Street off Park Avenue in Rochester. No appointment is necessary.

Now is the time to begin a job search, if one has not started already, McCutchen says, noting the additional $600 a week that individuals have been receiving in unemployment benefits under the Cares Act, has expired. And although lawmakers are working on an extension to the plan, the amount people receive is likely to be less.

In terms of unemployment, Monroe County ranked 46 out of 62 counties in the state with an unemployment rate of 11.9 percent in June, according to date from the state Department of Labor. Hamilton County ranked first with an unemployment rate of 7.7 percent, while Bronx County ranked 62 with an unemployment rate of 24.7 percent.

The enhanced retirement benefit may be a reason many are not eager to go back to work, McCutchen noted. In addition, they may have caregiving needs, from caring for a child to an elderly relative, which could deter them from finding work.

McCutchen cautions those who wait to look for a job because they will likely find themselves competing in a large pool of jobseekers.

Career Start has seen a roughly 40 percent increase in job applicants, McCutchen said, and she expects that number to continue to grow. She advises people get started now, ahead of the masses.

McCutchen recommends job seekers update their resumes and post them online. It is also a good idea to let employers know you are looking for a job on LinkedIn, she noted.

She also suggests looking at job boards on sites such as Indeed to see what fits one’s needs, noting those needs may have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic.

A jobseeker may be looking to work from home, and a number of employers are willing to be flexible given the current state of affairs. Career Start, for example, has 10 of its own openings, all of which are work-from-home positions.

It is also a good time to real-evaluate your career goals given that human resource professionals know the past few months have impacted the job market.

“You don’t have to explain gaps in your resume as much as you did before,” she said. “Now is the time really think about where you want to be.”

Local organizations seeking to hire are hotels, construction companies, health organizations like Rochester Regional Health and food and beverage companies like LiDestri Foods Inc.


As an essential business throughout the pandemic, LiDestri has kept its workforce of 1,350 people on the job, and the business is looking for some 50 additional workers at its two local sites. The jobs range across the business, but the majority are skilled trade positions, said Stefani LiDestri, co-CEO, adding that the full-time jobs offer competitive pay and benefits.

The business has been experiencing a growth spurt for several years, LiDestri noted. The firm has roughly doubled its local employee base over the past seven years.

Company leaders at LiDestri have placed an emphasis on creating a safe environment for its workers. Those measures including creating a task force to implement safety measures and procedures that follow the guidelines of the New York State Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The group established a cleaning task force; provided visual and verbal reminders regarding heightened precautions and cleaning measures; created clearly marked one-way travel pathways inside the plant; heightened communication regarding the proper wearing of masks; and started having employees clock in at different times to dissuade congregation.

The business has also shifted its focus to meet community needs.

To assist with healthcare needs at this time, LiDestri has transferred the production of one of its spirits lines to the creation of liquid hand sanitizer through its Recipe 21 division. LiDestri is donating more than $1 million value in hand sanitizer to local summer camps plus school districts, medical facilities and first responders.

During the pandemic, the company has also gifted sauce to employees, as well as donated 800 cases of sauce to Foodlink.

LiDestri had committed to adding a shift at its Fairport location prior to the COVID-19 outbreak due to growth and, since the pandemic, has added another shift at its Lee Road site to accommodate the hand sanitizer operation.

LiDestri says she expects demand for the company’s traditional products to continue post-pandemic, as well as its hand sanitizer line, which has expanded to include a new line of citrus-scented product.

“The demand is not going away,” LiDestri said.

Andrea Deckert is a Rochester-area freelance writer.