A Publication of WTVP

If there ever has been a time for staffing firms to shine, the aftermath of the hurricanes—especially Katrina—are it. Obviously, everyone was saddened by the tragic hurricanes and flooding along the Gulf Coast. But our industry is at its best when it helps people in need and in between jobs. In fact, it’s the main reason it was created. And the industry stepped up, big time.

As expected, staffing firms have been aggressively working to find jobs for the evacuees throughout the affected region, as well as in many outlying states where the evacuees moved. In many staffing offices surrounding the impacted areas, the number of candidates interviewed doubled or tripled in normal volume.

Many firms also established a hotline for employees of offices or businesses closed due to the hurricanes or flood damage. Other services offered to evacuees included helping recreate work histories and resumes and, where necessary, working with community resources to secure work clothing and transportation to new jobs.

National and international staffing firms offered immediate openings throughout the country, as well as in communities along the Gulf Coast, for permanent and temporary jobs in professional, industrial, and administrative positions for interested individuals. Their clients across the country have actively partnered with them to provide opportunities to the evacuees, regardless of available documentation on their prior work history.

The disaster also spawned new ideas and evacuee-friendly programs. For instance, National Executive Personnel, which places convenience store and gas station employees, started “Careers After Katrina,” a program to help those who’ve lost their jobs since Katrina and may need immediate employment.

Spherion worked to provide 500 employees at a FEMA office in Orlando, Fla., to handle inquiries from Katrina victims about a wide variety of issues related to help and support in rebuilding their lives.

Dyson Staffing in south Florida challenged area resorts and clubs to hire Katrina victims as they entered their key season, which runs from October through Mother’s Day. Command Center, a Scottsdale, Ariz.,-based staffing company, set up a trailer office in Biloxi, Miss., to assist workers.

Travel Guard and Manpower partnered on the program “Jobs for Katrina Evacuees (JKE).” The partnership supports displaced individuals and families by providing employment, as well as a chance to relocate on a temporary basis as they’re waiting to return home or on a permanent basis to rebuild their lives in a new location.

Finally, Staffing Support Services, a payroll funding and back office support supplier to the staffing industry, donated a number of services to affected staffing companies, such as payroll processing, managing workers’ comp claims, and setting up toll-free phone access.

The accolades for the industry players are too numerous for this article. For further information on the staffing industry and its efforts, go to the American Staffing Association web site at; it has a searchable database of staffing companies that have pledged to help displaced workers. IBI