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City of Wilmington gets "creative" to combat job vacancies

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The City of Wilmington has a high number of vacancies throughout its departments. This week, officials addressed the causes — and possible solutions — to the problem.

Currently, there are 90 vacancies on the City of Wilmington's staff. The turnover rate is at 15%, which is the highest it's been in the last five years. Half of the vacancies are in public and community services organizations. Those organizations are in charge of critical jobs such as collecting trash recycling, paving roads, and maintaining parks and landscaping.

Clayton Roberts, Assistant Director of Human Resources, said there are two main reasons for the vacancies.

“One was the pandemic really had people assess their lives and their priorities. And a lot of folks wanted to just completely change careers, they wanted more flexibility, and wanted to be in charge of their decision-making. And then another thing that we saw we saw an exodus of the baby boomers and they all retired over the last two years and there just isn't enough labor to fill all those vacancies that have been created by that change," he said.

Dave Mayes, director of the Public Services department, said they’ve had to get creative to keep services available. For example, the department bought two remote-controlled lawn mowers which lets one person do the job of five or six employees.

“But it's also safer, safer for our employees. So they're, there's less risk to them for injury or anything like that. So we're seeing productivity gains, as well as being able to provide the service," he said.

Roberts said for some positions experience is helpful and maybe even necessary, the city provides training for those that need it — and added there’s plenty of room for upward movement.

The City is holding a career fair this week to provide the community with more information on specific positions and benefits. The fair will be held Wednesday, June 29, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Camille hails from Long Island, NY where the exuberance of sports season never ended. She graduated from Boston University with a BS in Journalism and double minors in Classical Civilizations and Philosophy. Chasing stories has been a passion of hers since she was little, channeling itself through her art and writing. Camille’s journey in audio is never ending and she’s served as a podcast producer on multiple shows. When she’s not working she enjoys chatting and gaming with friends, reading, and creating digital art.