LUBBOCK, Texas – The pandemic has caused a series of worker shortages, the services industry has particularly taken a toll. As many of these businesses struggle to get by, there are additional programs geared up to help. 

Immediate past Chair of the Lubbock Restaurant Association and River Smith’s Managing Partner Chris Berry said times have been challenging over the course of the pandemic.

Berry said some of Lubbock’s hot spots saw a boom in business, but have not had the staff to match it.  

“So, statewide, the numbers we’re looking at is 78% of all restaurant operators or foodservice operators are operating with a current staff that doesn’t meet their current demands,” Berry said. “The numbers and you know, have adjusted to the market, if you will, but the numbers and the quantities of staff still haven’t caught up.”  

Despite the endless challenges of staffing and product shortages, Berry, like many business owners remains hopeful that things will turn around. Berry said he and many of his colleagues strive to help each other out. Berry said they are grateful to the overwhelming support they’ve gotten from the community.  

“We strategize. We, you know, kick opinions off each other and things like that,” Berry said. “So we’re here to help each other out … Because we’re all in this together. You know, we know where we came from. Most of us started as a dishwasher, bussing tables and worked our way up just like everyone else.” 

South Plains Workforce Solutions’ CEO Martin Aguirre said there are programs that have received additional funding specifically to support the service industry. One of which is expanding the childcare program. 

“It’s a real juggling act for a family that has small children,” Aguirre said. “So the announcement about federal funding for extra COVID funding for childcare … We have enough funding right now, to work on our regular program that we normally run year in, year out.”

South Plains Workforce Solutions said the additional federal funding allows them to provide childcare coverage for close to another 400 kids. The application closes March, 31, 2022. For the link clip here.