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Salt Lake County hiring initiative aimed at providing jobs during COVID-19 economic downturn

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Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson adjusts her face mask after announcing a new hiring initiative to help the county’s continuing battle to eradicate COVID-19 during a press conference at the Salt Lake County Government Center on Thursday, July 16, 2020.

Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson announced a hiring initiative as part of the county’s latest efforts to dampen the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Wilson made the announcement during a news conference outside the Salt Lake County Government Center Thursday focused on the county’s latest efforts on the virus front.

The hiring initiative opens 125 temporary positions across Salt Lake County departments involved in fighting the virus, and applications are now open.

“My first directive is to create more than 125 new short-term positions to assist our health department in contact tracing, quarantine and isolation operations, sheltering, testing, logistics and other pandemic support operations,” Wilson said. “We will also expand our economic recovery operations with greater emphasis there, and we are reaching out with a specific call to our diverse communities.”

She said the county is looking to hire people who can help with language and cultural barriers in the county’s hardest hit populations, as well as for community partners with established rapport in these communities.

Additionally, the county is looking for temporary employees to fill positions related to hospitality, health care, communications and event planning. Applicants are required to work at least 40 hours a week and work for up to six months.

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Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson walks back to her office at the Salt Lake County Government Center after announcing a new hiring initiative to help the county’s continuing battle to eradicate COVID-19 during a press conference on Thursday, July 16, 2020.

Steve Griffin, Deseret News

“This will be the largest hiring group of COVID-19-related workers deployed in the state of Utah,” Wilson said. “These new workers will allow us to expand our efforts, to do even more as we see cases (increase), and they will also provide relief to our health department workers. ... They deserve a break and this additional recruitment will allow for that break.”

She said the temporary positions will be open until at least Dec. 30 “because that’s the limit of our federally allowable use of COVID dollars that comes through the CARES Act,” but said there might be an option to extend the positions beyond December.

“This initial call will be a very open call to send a resume, and because these are short-term positions, we are able to move more quickly in hiring.”

She reiterated the need for Utahns to practice personal responsibility on mitigating the spread of COVID-19 such as wearing masks, practicing social distancing and limiting personal interactions.

Wilson pointed to an informal survey conducted by the county showing 95% of county residents are wearing masks since the mandate was put in place, while compliance was at about 60% prior to it.

“Salt Lake County’s rates are now stable all the while the state’s counts are increasing. I’m here today to say we are all in; we will remain all in no matter where the moment of opportunity is during the length of this challenge,” Wilson said.

It’s too early to tell if the county’s stabilization is due to the mask mandate because more time is needed to measure the impacts, she said, but the county plans on holding a press conference next week to discuss data and progress on masks in the county.

People interested in applying for the temporary positions can apply at slco.org/jobs/ or submit a resume to Recruiting@slco.org.

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Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson announces a new hiring initiative to help the county’s continuing battle to eradicate COVID-19 during a press conference at the Salt Lake County Government Center on Thursday, July 16, 2020.

Steve Griffin, Deseret News