By Ronnie Polidoro
Last week’s story about the oil boom in Williston, N.D., led to a surge of phone calls, e-mails, job applications, and even some hires.
Matt Grimshaw, the CEO of Mercy Medical Center, says the response was incredible: within minutes of the broadcast, the medical center’s job website began receiving a higher volume of applications.
“In a normal week we would have 100 applicants, in the past week we have had 800 submitted applications.” Grimshaw told NBC News.
Since last Monday, Mercy Medical Center has conducted 40 phone interviews with candidates from all over the country and has hired six applicants who applied after learning about Rock Center’s report.
According to Holly Sand, a public information specialist for Job Service North Dakota, a state run job listing website, traffic on the site nearly doubled from 16,684 visits on Monday, October 31 to 28,163 visits the day after the story aired.
“I think it’s safe to say Job Service saw a spike following the show,” said Sand.
The Williston Public School District has also seen a rapid increase of phone calls from jobseekers since the story aired. The district has three teaching positions open – a family consumer science teacher, a high school math teacher, and an auto-mechanics teacher – but Superintendent Dr. Viola LaFontaine anticipates that it will need even more teachers next school year.
Williston’s Mayor Ward Koeser told NBC News, “Although we have thousands of jobs available, we have no place for the job seekers to live at this time.” Local hotels are booked through January and there are few housing units available at this time. Mayor Koeser urged, “People need to have a place to stay before coming!”
Especially, warn locals, because winter is coming. Just this weekend, Williston had its first dusting of snow and last year, the town set a snow fall record at 107 inches.