Businesses across the country are finding it difficult to fill their staff list.

What You Need To Know

  • Citrus County businesses among those having trouble hiring workers

  • Officials hope sign-up bonus program proves beneficial to both businesses, potential employees

  • LINK: CareerSource Citrus

Citrus County officials are hoping a $1,000 sign-up bonus for anyone currently looking for a job will help with businesses who are struggling with hiring. 

This comes at a time right when Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that Florida will stop paying unemployed workers an extra $300 a week in federal pandemic benefits.

Steve and Debbie Ervin own BubbaQue’s in Crystal River’s Heritage Village. Ervin said while he has a healthy roster, adding another six employees is tougher than ever.

“Most of the difficulty from what I’m seeing and from what I’m hearing,” Ervin said, “there’s a lot of people still opting to stay at home and collect federal and state unemployment instead of going back to work.”

For more than a year now, qualified unemployed Floridians got an additional $300 a week from the federal government, but soon that will go away.

Citrus Chamber Vice President Ardath Prendergast said, “We’ve had a program going for the last few months to basically reward businesses by trying to help make them a little more whole by offering them some grant funds, so we decided to take some of that money that was for that program and move it into the sign-on bonus program.”

Applicants must be employed for 90 days to get the additional funds and there is certain criteria for businesses too. 

Prendergast said, “They must be Citrus County employers, they must have 75 or fewer employees, and they must be paying the employees $15 (per hour) or less.”

While county commissioners and the Chamber are encouraging people to apply for jobs and stay in their jobs, some business owners say they have questions and concerns that may actually prevent them from applying for the program.

Ervin said, “I appreciate them being innovative, there’s a lot of things that unfortunately would cost us some time bureaucratically to weed through but would be to me a much better hit instead of bribing people who don’t want to come back to work.”

The $100,000 program also has money set aside for child care at the YMCA to help out a program that serves people who may be looking for a job but have child care issues.

Prendergast said Thursday that the YMCA received their funds Monday to start providing the service. 

Businesses and applicants must apply through career source for the program at this link.