CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are still being felt here in western Massachusetts. In particular, not enough workers to meet the growing consumer demand.

“Since the post-COVID recovery, we have found that there aren’t the same number of applicants that are applying for the jobs that we need,” said Natalie Bys, the Human Resources Manager for HCS Head Start in Springfield.

Job fairs are becoming a common sight as employers look to get more people onto their payroll. In need of workers, HCS Head Start has even added a $1000 signing bonus for all positions.

“Particularly we are struggling filling teachers, in the Early Education and Care industry,” Bys told 22News.

Job growth for the month of September fell short of economist predictions, however the unemployment rate is still declining.

22News spoke with a rep for Pathlight, a social services organization in Springfield, hoping to fill their essential roles as soon as possible to provide services for our community’s most vulnerable.

“We are looking for a wide variety of positions,” said Mary Zagula, the Development Communication Coordinator. “…. Direct support positions, care providers… we have autism specialists, community companion roles.”

The report also indicated some major job gains in September within leisure, hospitality, manufacturing and health care. Employment showed little change over the month, however, in other major industries, including retail trade, information, and government.