While unemployment is high, Colorado Springs’ rapid business growth bringing new opportunities

COLORADO SPRINGS — You might be surprised to know, even though employment is down, in Colorado Springs there are lots of opportunities on the horizon.

There is no doubt COVID-19 has upended the workforce.

According to state data, Colorado lost over 186,000 jobs between July 2019 and July 2020.

Right now the state’s unemployment rate is 7.4 percent.

The rate in El Paso county is a bit better at 6.8 percent.

“Millions of Americans have been impacted by the pandemic. Unemployment is at historic levels,” Amazon Vice President of Workforce Development Ardine Williams told News 5.

But it’s not all bad news in the Springs. Just take a look around.

“Amazon is the second largest employer in the United States,” Williams said.

Fulfillment centers like the one Amazon is building near the city’s airport require an army of staff.

“It depends on the size, but its typically in the thousands,” she said.

Across town, sporting goods retailer Scheels is building its massive store.

“It’s gonna be 230,000 square feet,” Assistant Store Leader Pat Bahr said.

Which of course, requires a massive staff.

“We have about 350 positions we have to fill,” Bahr said.

Even though it’s not set to open until march, the company already has a physical presence in town.

“We’re currently in a career center, where we’ve kind of set up temporary shop,” he said.

It’s a place to hold interviews, meetings and training. And they went all out on it.

“We did a full renovation of this building,” he said.

In Colorado Springs, new opportunities are arriving, just in the nick of time.

“There’s a lot of great people who lost great jobs,” Bahr said.

Scheels has a listing of all open and future jobs available in Colorado Springs on its website, where you can also find out how to apply.

Amazon told News 5 hiring hasn’t begun for its Colorado Springs fulfillment center yet, and the company plans to launch an information campaign letting people know how to apply once the jobs are posted.

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