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Eye-catching Springfield billboards are not so subtle “Help Wanted” ads

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 6:25 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - As you drive the streets of Springfield these days you might notice some rather unusual billboards that are basically saying “Now Hiring” but in a more forceful, controversial way.

The billboards read:

Get off your butt!

Get.To.Work.

Apply Anywhere.

In the world we live in today those billboards are sure to spark a wide variety of reactions from laughter to outrage, but one of the people who is responsible for them says it’s just an attempt to get people back in the workforce with a little eye-catching verbiage.

”People are frustrated and there’s nothing that we can do,” said Brad Parke, the General Manager of Greek Corner Screen Printing and Embroidery. “So this is just a shot at doing something...anything..to get jobs filled.”

Like many businesses around town, Parke is looking for employees. So he and a handful of other business owners (who prefer to remain anonymous) decided to pay for the unusual messaging.

“We don’t know where people are,” Parke said. “Obviously they’re not at work. Apparently they’re at home. So that’s where we came up with ‘Get Off Your Butt’. And then the ‘Apply Anywhere’ is about everyone’s looking for employees. You can’t drive a block through a commercial district without someone having a sign saying ‘Now Hiring’. There are billboards for minimum wage jobs to executive jobs and no one can find anybody to work.”

The workforce shortage is a major problem in all sectors and its affecting the supply chain for all kinds of goods and services, despite the Greene County Commission reporting a record-low unemployment rate is at 2.8 percent.

Chances are no matter what you buy or where you go, you’ve experienced problems because of the workforce shortage.

“Customers are frustrated because when you go to a restaurant you don’t want to wait an hour for your food,” Parke pointed out.

There are many theories as to why the workforce has not returned after the pandemic sent people home. Many observers thought the end of COVID-19 unemployment benefits would send people back to work but that hasn’t been the case and others think the time at home caused some Americans to rethink their priorities and decide that spending time with family was more important than their jobs.

Parke believes it’s because of a fundamental change in our standards and principles.

“It’s our society. We’re just not teaching our kids to work and it’s our fault as parents,” he said, pointing to himself.

Parke said the billboard company that put up the ad has already been getting feedback.

“He said they typically don’t get people calling in about billboards,” Parke said. “But someone called and said, ‘I don’t know who paid for that billboard but that’s awesome!’”

But certainly there are a lot of people upset about the billboards as well. People who don’t seek jobs have many legitimate reasons for doing so and implying that laziness is the only reason is going to spark outrage.

Parke said it was simply an attempt at sarcastic humor to get people motivated to return to the workforce.

“So many people have their feelings on their sleeve,” he said. “Get over it! It’s time to grow up.”

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