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H-E-B Portland Store Leader Rich Miotti is well aware of the growth coming to the county as he is having trouble finding qualified candidates to fill positions at his store along with many other local businesses.

Earlier this year businesses began to open back up throughout San Patricio County. Many had been closed or had limited occupancy requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic and either furloughed their employees or had to let them go all together.

While big box stores such as Walmart and H-E-B never fully closed their doors, they are feeling the sting when it comes to residents looking for work as everyone seems to be hiring, especially in Portland.

“Right now, as you know, there’s just not as many people applying for jobs because they now have a wide selection to choose from,” H-E-B Store Leader Rich Miotti said. “Our business is increasing in this area so our need is much more than it used to be.

“We’re also looking at creative ways of hiring.”

For the last few years Portland’s H-E-B has been hiring via their website where applicants must first complete a video interview, then if they are qualified, a team member reaches out and calls them in for a series of one-on-one interviews with team leaders. If all goes well, the applicant becomes a H-E-B team member with pay starting out at $12 an hour for customer service assistants and $15 an hour for a checkers.

“It’s a lot more efficient and it’s easier to maintain an application online opposed to having all those papers within the store,” Miotti added. “We can then always make sure that we’re being fair, firm and consistent in our hiring practices. You want to make sure that everybody has an opportunity.

“It’s not cumbersome, but it’s very thorough.”

He also said that as he drives through Portland the one thing he’s noticing is the “now hiring” signs on nearly every block.

From fast food restaurants to convenient stores to credit unions, it seems there is a need in the city that isn’t being filled. While Miotti said H-E-B has always provided competitive wages, places like McDonald’s are advertising their $12 an hour pay as an incentive to apply.

 “As our city continues to grow along with the more homes that are being built in the area, the more help we need,” Miotti said. “More rooftops produce more sales so we need more great partners.

“What I see is just continue to grow our business. The more a business grows, the more opportunities there are for people to get hired.

“But here at H-E-B we do what everybody else wishes they can do. We treat our partners and our vendors with the respect they deserve.

“I can’t speak highly enough of our company – our family – here in Portland.”

•pgonzales@mysoutex.com•

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