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Massachusetts city offering up to $800 in gift cards as hiring incentive; should others follow suit?

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Communities have turned to abnormal means to try and fill jobs at local businesses.

Mayor Kimberley Driscoll has announced that the City of Salem and the MassHire North Shore Career Center are now offering hiring incentives to help fill openings in the local hospitality sector and aid in the recovery of Salem’s small businesses following the COVID pandemic recession.

Through the Salem Hospitality Employee Incentive Program, eligible persons who are hired between June 1st and July 23rd, and retain that job for a minimum 15 hours per week for a period of six weeks, can earn $400 in VISA gift cards. Qualified businesses include restaurants, hotels, attractions, and small retailers with fewer than 25 employees. An additional incentive of $400 in VISA gift cards can be earned for staying past October 31st.

“Salem’s small businesses are now open and ready to welcome back residents and visitors alike,” said Mayor Driscoll. “Many employers have openings to fill and the City of Salem and MassHire are happy to help encourage job seekers through these incentives. Our local economy is strong and we were fortunate to have no net loss in businesses last year. We even saw a decrease in our storefront vacancy rate to just 4%. Nearly two-thirds of residents who became unemployed last spring when the pandemic started are now employed again. Salem is vibrant and busy, with rapidly increasing levels of economic activity. The Hospitality Employee Incentive Program is intended to connect and inspire people to rejoin our local workforce and keep our economy growing.”

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