By Olivia Koepp
Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, COVID-19 has affected the workforce in many ways. Many graduating university students have had to adjust to the job search. Altec Industries, a Birmingham-based company that custom manufactures truck bodies, has adapted to working in a pandemic.
A Talent Acquisition Manager at Altec who handles hiring, Stacia Gaines, was asked how she thinks COVID-19 has affected the workforce for college students. She answered that it has “definitely impacted it and work life in general.”
When asked to elaborate, she explained what happened at the company when Altec was first hit and the country had to go remote. As a manufacturing company, she said it is impossible to go entirely remote because a person cannot build a bucket truck from their house. So workers continued to come in as essential workers, corporate went fully remote for a little over a year and the company hired remote interns.
Gaines said that most students were already used to remote learning.
“(Remote learning) wasn’t as effective as in-person, but they did as best they could under the circumstances,” Gaines said.
The pandemic has made it difficult to create professional relationships and networking, but Gaines gave some helpful advice to students who are preparing, searching and going into the workforce. She said students can do two things: one is “to get some kind of internship or part-time job where you can get some work experience” and the other is “stay curious, talk with people and take advantage of things on campus.”
Gaines said she believes that learning to become flexible while in this pandemic will help students go the extra mile.
“Flexibility, agility, and being able to learn in a lot of different ways (are) some of the things that companies really look for,” Gaines said.
She said that having a positive attitude and being excited about what you do are qualities that are always looked for in individuals.
Students are not the only ones acclimating to the new normal. Altec Industries is one of the millions of businesses doing the same. Going forward in this hybrid and socially distanced culture, adaptability to the times and being intentional in one’s actions is vital for students. Take advantage of what opportunities are offered on campus, go to Job and Internship Fairs like the one on Feb. 24 and schedule an appointment with the Career Development Center.