With the 2021 tourism season almost here, businesses continue to search to fill open positions to meet the demand. In a strange twist, local companies are struggling to ramp up their business capacities for current demand but are hamstrung by not attracting applicants. What a difference one year can make.

The Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce is launching a two-phase campaign to address what business owners and island leaders have said is a hospitality workforce crisis stemming from the pandemic.

Officials with the chamber have launched WORK Galveston County in response to this problem, along with other organizations, such as the Galveston Restaurant Association, Galveston Hotel & Lodging Association, Galveston College and others.

Addressing the issue head-on and collectively is a good idea.

“Ultimately, right now, we are in crisis,” said Gina Spagnola, president and CEO of the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We don’t want our restaurants to go dark because there are no servers. We don’t want it to affect the quality of restaurant customer service.

“When there aren’t enough employees, sometimes you can’t provide everything you’re known for,” she said. “And we’re worried about that.”

In various ways, everyone from workers to businesses are rebuilding their lives. Finding new ways to attract workers and business is simply a natural result of the impact of the pandemic. And making connections on both sides will require creative thinking and resourceful actions.

Part one focuses on a survey where businesses develop a list of what type of employees they seek, what incentives are available and the salary and benefits they are offering.

That will be followed by a May 11 roundtable discussion to review the survey results. From the data, the committee will then develop strategies to best address the challenges and opportunities.

The next step in the chamber’s plan will be to create an environment fostering long-term careers.

The landscape of the nation’s workforce changed dramatically in the past year. Prospective employees and businesses are racing to make sense of how to move forward.

Stepping back and evaluating how to address the issues hindering hiring is an important step. And coming together to the table will undoubtedly lead to a better roadmap and results for all.

• Leonard Woolsey

Leonard Woolsey: 409-683-5207; leonard.woolsey@galvnews.com.

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(14) comments

George Laiacona

Denial that the Pandemic is a real disaster won’t make the atmosphere better for restaurant servers. Unfortunately the majority of customers coming in to Island are from out of town. We can’t be sure if these people have been vaccinated or not, therefore this places a higher risk of contacting the Trump virus while earning very low wages. I s it worth the risk for very little financial return ?

Carlos Ponce

There is no "Trump virus", George Laiacona. But whatever you have, I pray it's not contagious.

Charles Douglas

Some folks will lie on Trump ..when there is nothing to lose or to gain!

Stephanie Martin

It’s hard to get someone to give up unemployment benefits.

Bailey Jones

It's not hard if the alternative is a living wage.

Charles Douglas

I share your conclusion Ms. Martin![thumbup][thumbup]

Jill Presnal

I live in College Station, moved from Galveston after Hurricane Ike. Here in CS there is a wealth if students for jobs. Wonder if you work with TAMU and TAMUG and get some Aggie workers, provide affordable housing with dorms on campus. And could also take classes at TAMUG, which would be a treat because classes so much smaller! Just an idea because I have heard friends and family for years and years struggle with finding employees and it is the opposite here in CS. An abundance of workers.

George Laiacona

Like I said before, the US would not have any where the amount of deaths if The Trump character shut down ALL incoming human traffic during the month of 2020. But because of his personal greed we had to endure a pandemic that could have been avoided. I call it the Trump Virus because he bought back then. He owns it!

Carlos Ponce


Norman Pappous

Carlos - 100%

George Laiacona

After January 6th how can anyone in their right mind still be a Trumper? Doesn’t Patriotism mean anything anymore?

Carlos Ponce

Patriotism is why people support Donald Trump. Most of what you allege happened on January 6 is fabricated nonsense. Your brainwashing was effective.

Charles Douglas

Yes! Patriotism means a lot to us, so much so that you never had a Iranian Ship on the high seas to stop and board an American ship, putting American sailors on their knees with hands locked over their heads with automatic weapons pointed in their faces,..while filming them on video for propaganda purposes under Donald Trump! Videos of the event were seen all over the world to show how inept America was under JOE CHINA & Obama! Some of our sailors were seen crying, and later disciplined by Joe'nem for un-becoming conduct!

You did not see a foreign power like Red China come to ALASKA to a conference ..and disrespect America By BOLDLY LECTURING us for being a world power BAD on human rights trying to criticize them! They went on to tell Joe Crow's LEFTIST pals.... to get their own house in order before they come wanting to clean their's! One of the Chinese purportedly stated that, " You guys admits openly that your nation is systemically RACIST toward minorities, and you want to lecture us?"

That ever happen under Trump? [censored] NAW it didn't ...if it had there would have been "Hell To Pay The Captain"...and the Chinese knew it! Ahhh but Joe China is weak, scared commanding no respect! Also, where is my REPARATIONS? Where is my forty acres? Y'all need to work on that, and let's see how you do! KEEP YOUR WORD!!!!!!!!!!!!

George Laiacona

The start of this article began with the chamber of commerce and it’s efforts to improve hotels and restaurants ability to survive the pandemic. It has turned into anything but. Political differences will always exist. So let’s try to solve the real issue here. That is how do we protect servers while expecting them to work at risk for lower than the minimum wage?

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