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Help wanted: Delaware launches ad campaign to fill job vacancies

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Billboards throughout major roads in Delaware have featured hiring ads since June, in hopes of attracting new candidates. | PHOTO COURTESY OF AB&C

WILMINGTON — Businesses aren’t the only ones suffering from the labor shortage. The state government has about 400 vacancies listed right now across various departments — and a new advertisement campaign is hoping to bring in more applicants.

The Delaware Department of Human Resources has hired Aloysius Butler & Clark (AB&C) for $225,000 to launch a multifaceted marketing campaign that includes radio, social media, billboard, transit and other digital advertising platforms. Launched in June, the campaign aims to promote the benefits for working for Delaware, according to Human Resources Secretary Claire DeMatteis.

“In the past, the state government hasn’t been the best in promoting itself. We have terrific benefits and a retirement plan, and it may not be as obvious to people on the outside,” DeMatteis told the Delaware Business Times. “The goal is to get out messages, and we’re doing that through billboards throughout the state, radio ads you hear while driving, and hopefully you’ve seen them online.”

Across the state, some Delaware agencies are facing 20% vacancies. The Department of Human Resources is specifically recruiting for nurses, correctional officers, food inspectors, HR specialists and for the Natural Resources Police. The Division of Corporations, which is responsible for assisting companies as they file tax documents and miscellaneous paperwork, has been understaffed for a while, according to DeMatteis.

“There has not been a reduction of office hours for these departments. Instead it’s more like what everyone has dealt with recently: stretching themselves thin and taking on more work,” she added.

Delaware’s unemployment rate has stayed relatively stable at 4.5% from March to June. The state added 2,600 net jobs in June, however, Delaware still falls behind the national unemployment rate of 3.6% that was recorded that month.

DeMatteis was brought on as Secretary of Human Resources this past January, and has made it her goal to streamline many onboarding processes and policies. With 24 locations throughout the nation’s smallest state, she hopes to be able to consolidate physical locations as well.

But in April, she also oversaw a key policy change for Delaware employees: making it possible for many to work from home permanently or on a hybrid basis, pending a supervisor’s approval. 

“It’s something we know people are looking for, and it made sense to keep Delaware competitive,” DeMatteis said. “It’s not quite a secret that we have employees that live in New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania and some parts of Virginia and D.C. The campaign is to also serve as an eye-opener for many who may not be aware of all benefits we have to offer.”

It may be too early to tell how effective the ad campaign is, but DeMatteis has set a high bar for herself by the time the campaign ends in October.

“I want to see applicants in the double digits, but if we can get at least 10% of these positions filled, that will be a great start,” she said.

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