By Jacqueline Quynh

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Instead of a surge of closures, there’s been a surge in help wanted signs along Las Olas Boulevard.  CBS4 met one job applicant looking to switch trades.

“I worked at Head Start,” said Kristal Clark said. “All through my life I worked with almost every age group.”

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Clark, who used to be a teacher, told CBS4 she often paid out of pocket for supplies.

“Because I was spending my own money and I wasn’t able to you know, survive, on my own.  With those children, those environments I was working with, it was low-income families that I would work, and that’s only what I would work with, so of course, I was giving my money to them,” she said.

As you may have heard before, the pay for teaching is just not enough to make it.  This is why she ended up across from the assistant general manager for Yolo Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale Thursday morning.

“We’re looking for all aspects, front of the house, hosts, greeters,” Janelle Paton, Yolo’s assistant general manager said.

They’re not the only ones hiring, but because of a major renovation at their facility, they now need to hire almost every single position back again.  And the options are varied up and down the boulevard.

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“We are one of the places you think of to enjoy being outside, it’s one thing to go to the park or the beach but it’s another to people watch,” Luke Moorman said.

Moorman runs Carroll’s Jewelers and is President of the Las Olas Association. He told CBS4 there were some business closures, but Las Olas is happening place right now.  While we were there, we saw empty spaces with “Coming Soon” signs for this fall, along with new construction.

“I know 100% of the restaurants need some type of help,” he added.

Job seekers like Clark now have the advantage as businesses are desperate to hire, it’s something she’s realized in this pandemic.

“I think it has definitely taught me to adjust to what’s best for you and the things you’re good at,” she said.

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Clark may go back to teaching, but for now she’s the one learning something new. She hopes to try bartending when Yolo opens back up.

Jacqueline Quynh