The Story of HireAwayCOVID 

by Josh Holtzman

My Dad always taught me to do what I can to help people.  This is sometimes a tall order, especially when something big happens in the world, like a pandemic.  So often, we’re left feeling helpless, like there’s nothing we can do.   

The Negative Effects of Covid-19 

When I first heard about COVID-19, I read the news every day, and every day grew more and more afraid of what the future would hold. I thought of something simple, that looking back I always took for granted, like my favorite local restaurant.  What would happen when customers would stop going there? The restaurant owner wouldn’t be able to pay their staff or their rent, the landlord wouldn’t be able to pay their loans and so on and so on.   It was a domino effect that seemed impossible to avoid. 

The Benefits of Combined Action

Then my thoughts went to the businesses on the other end of the spectrum that would need to increase their operations, like supermarkets, manufacturers of antiseptics, delivery companies, etc.  If they would commit to hiring people, then maybe the effects of this virus on businesses could be lessened or reversed.  I started to see a lot of companies publishing lists online and providing other types of digital services for people who had been laid off, but they were each acting alone without leveraging the resources of others. This felt limiting. 

During this time, my wife was involved in launching the Mental Health Coalition and the word ‘coalition’ really stuck with me. It means “an alliance for combined action.” Coalitions are where a number of companies partner together to drive change. It made me wonder how companies could work together to help people affected by COVID-19. 

Building the Coalition, One Partner at a Time

Arthur Ashe once said, “start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” Being in the staffing industry, we know a lot of people who manage hiring at many large employers.  We have connections to other recruiting firms, job boards, software companies that help people hire, resumé services, etc.  Knowing our resources, it made sense to start there and work towards building a coalition of companies who are experts at helping people get jobs.  

I reached out to a few people and received an overwhelmingly positive response.  We were able to sign on initial partners and employers to make the pledge and are moving ahead to get as many people involved as possible.   

I encourage anyone reading this to “do what you can.”  Employers; sign the pledge, candidates; add your profiles and everyone else can share and spread the word about our coalition on social media.  We’re all in this together!