FOLSOM (CBS13) – From the hostess stand to prepping tables, Sarah Aquino never thought about being vice mayor of Folsom while simultaneously working her restaurant job as a side gig.
“I’m actually having a lot of fun, I have no restaurant experience,” Aquino said laughing. “I said hey, I don’t have any restaurant experience but I’m a hard worker and a fast learner and if you could use my help, I will step in,” she explainedREAD MORE: Man Found In Car Intoxicated, Arrested For DUI In Lodi
It’s not for the extra cash that she’ll get on her next paycheck. Instead, Aquino’s new employment as a hostess and dining room supervisor at Back Bistro is to help end the city’s labor shortage.
“We figured we needed kind of a World War II type of campaign a combination of Uncle Sam saying I want you, and Rosie the Riveter saying we can do it,” she explained. “If they can get out there and help these businesses fill these positions, it helps the businesses while also helping the city of Folsom,” said Aquino.
Aquino is partnering with the chamber of commerce and spearheading a new campaign to encourage retirees, stay-at-home parents, students, and anyone who has extra time to help struggling businesses by committing to work around 20 hours a week for 6 months.
“Our hope is to bridge this gap,” explained Joe Gagliardi, CEO of The Folsom Chamber of Commerce. “It’s really a short-term solution where people who have time and are committed to the community want to help. We are not talking about people that are working for free we are talking about people who have time on their hands that they might be able to allocate that to some of our businesses,” he said.
The call for commitment is to help fill businesses like restaurants, local shops, and any place that needs extra hands.
“It’s been so difficult over the last year and a half two years and it just feels like it is one hurdle after the next,” explained Gail Back, owner of Back Bistro.READ MORE: Man Arrested After Running Stop Sign Then Fleeing From Police
Gail and her husband Jeff Back own Back Bistro and are about 10 employees short of where they would like their staffing to be.
“It’s crazy, you talk to any restaurant, it’s like yeah one out of ten will maybe show up to their interview, nine out of ten will just not show up,” Jeff Back explained.
The shortage forced them to close on Mondays making this initiative imperative.
“It’s only been a week or two and we have already had several people come up and say ‘I can help, I can help, what do you need?’”
This short-term commitment is to help local businesses stay open for the long haul.
“I hope this will inspire a few people when they see a help wanted sign,” Aquino said.MORE NEWS: Governor Newsom Tests Positive For COVID-19
The Chamber will work with businesses to help pair up interested workers with local businesses when possible.