(WACO, Texas) – Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in the spring, employees have been furloughed or laid off, leading Texas to its highest unemployment rate in years.

When government officials began reopening the state in May, employers started to hire people, including graduates of Texas State Technical College.

Kacey Darnell, TSTC’s executive director of Career Services, said employers continue to contact her office for prospective employees.

“When this first started, we did see a decline in job postings,” she said. “But the number of postings has climbed considerably since May. A lot of companies have reached out to us looking for people.”

Darnell said certain areas have not stopped looking for employees.

“During this pandemic there have always been huge needs in industrial maintenance, diesel maintenance and electrical power,” she said.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, construction jobs increased 1.8 percent in May compared to April. Manufacturing jobs statewide increased 0.6 percent over the same time period.

May’s statewide unemployment rate of 13 percent was the first time since March that it recorded a decrease, the commission reported. Texas remains below the national rate, which was 13.3 percent in May.

Darnell said Career Services is still working with companies on employer spotlights and interviews. But one thing has changed.

“There seems to be more interaction since everything is now virtual,” she said.

A recent employer spotlight was held virtually and could be accessed by students at each TSTC campus.

“It was more convenient for the employer. They could have one event and hear from 10 campuses at one time,” Darnell said.

With companies looking to hire, Darnell said students should be prepared, especially since most interviews will be conducted remotely.

“A lot of the interviews will be done over the phone. This is a good time for students to work on their interview skills,” she said.

Darnell said TSTC students can reach out to a Career Services representative for help.

“There are still plenty of job opportunities out there,” she said.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

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