BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KVEO) — COVID-19 unemployment benefits will stop June 26 in an effort to get thousands of Texans to return to work.
During the height of the pandemic, mid-2020, the four counties comprising the Rio Grande Valley had an average unemployment rate of 17.95%.
The unemployment rate has gone down from then, but it still hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Thousands of Texans were furloughed or laid off in 2020 as companies tried to cut costs. Some jobs that were available were hard to fill.
“What we’re seeing is during COVID, it was very hard to hire people because mostly it was virtual, getting people the word out was difficult, people were probably not comfortable leaving their homes,” said Helen Ramirez, the Deputy City Manager of Brownsville.
To help residents of the Rio Grande Valley who are searching for jobs, on June 28 the city of Brownsville will host the largest in-person career expo in South Texas.
“We have companies, new companies coming, and companies experiencing growth, and what they need is to attract talent,” said Ramirez.
Valley Regional Medical Center will be at the event, where they have openings for nearly 20 different jobs.
“We have all sorts of positions open, clinical, non-clinical. Hospitals or healthcare organizations are like small communities so we hope to get at least 50 applicants,” said Frank Acevedo, the chief nursing officer for Valley Regional Medical Center.
The demand for nurses increased during the pandemic, but there wasn’t enough applicants to fill those positions. The hospital is hoping to fill that demand at the career expo.
“There was a much lower number of nurses applying because the schools were shut down so a lot of people were doing school from home so there was no clinicals being done. So there wasn’t a lot of nurses available in the market to come and start working,” said Acevedo.
Many places, Valley Regional included, will be interviewing and hiring at the event.
“We will be hiring live at the event, so people can start working as soon as two weeks. I know that people want to get back to work so it’s going to be an expedited process,” said Acevedo.
The career expo will take place at the Brownsville Event Center on June 28 between 8 A.M. and 7 P.M.
You can register for the event and find more information at btxcareers.com.