Denver Airport held a job fair to plug its huge labor shortage. An exec said he’d hoped 5,000 people would come



A waitress is taking a customer’s order at a table. There are other customers and another server in the background.

Concessions International wanted to hire at least 38 workers, but only two people applied, ABC7 reported. Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

  • A Denver Airport job fair on Saturday attracted just 100 attendees, an exec told ABC7 Denver.

  • He said organizers had hoped 5,000 people would come to fill both entry-level and management roles.

  • A concessions company needed to fill 38 jobs – but only two people applied.

Only about 100 people turned up to a job fair aimed at plugging Denver International Airport’s huge labor shortage.

Denver Concessionaires Association (DCA) President Dennis Deslongchamp told ABC7 Denver that organizers had hoped for around 5,000 people at the fair on Saturday, which he called a “very lofty goal.”

Organizers wanted to fill around 1,000 jobs at the airports, he said.

But only around 100 people came to the four-hour fair, Deslongchamp told ABC7.

Derik Mortenson, director of operations at Concessions International, told the station: “We were expecting the masses to come knocking on our door.”

The company has eight concessions at the airport including branches of Chick-fil-A and Wetzel’s Pretzels. Mortenson said that the company had needed to hire at least 38 workers, but that only two people applied.

The US is suffering from a labor shortage that’s hitting industries ranging from education and healthcare to trucking and restaurants. Record numbers of Americans have been quitting their jobs in search of better wages, benefits, and working conditions.

The DCA and airport leadership organized the job fair at the airport’s United Club, with representatives from close to 170 concessions, including stores and restaurants, in attendance, ABC7 reported.

Jobs ranged from entry-level positions to top executive management roles, Deslongchamp said.

Free flu and COVID-19 jabs were available at the fair, too.

Elisa Lalama, the HR director for Skyport Hospitality, which runs concessions at the airport including Shake Shack, Snooze A.M. Eatery, and Dunkin’, told the station that the company was looking to hire more than 150 workers to plug its labor shortage.

“We are at such a staffing deficit that we’d be grateful for just five,” Lalama said.

Deslongchamp said he didn’t consider the event a failure, and that he hoped to run it annually in future.

The airport’s hiring woes aren’t just limited to its concessions.

The Denver Post reported that the airport’s labor shortage could be a contributor to the huge lines for airport security as travel rebounds. The airport also hasn’t been able to fully reopen its shuttle bus that ferries travelers to the airport because of a shortage of drivers at its shuttle-bus contract, The Burlington Record reported.

Last month, 350 janitors at Denver International Airport voted to strike for better pay and workloads.

“We are sick of being understaffed, overworked, underpaid, and undervalued for our work,” a janitor who had worked at the airport for 16 years told his branch of the Service Employees International Union.

Are you a business struggling to hire, or a worker who recently quit your job over pay, benefits, or working conditions? Email this reporter at [email protected]

Expanded Coverage Module: what-is-the-labor-shortage-and-how-long-will-it-last

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