In a sluggish job market, one local resort wants your job application — now!

The Omni Resort held a job fair at the Poinciana Community Center. (Photo by Dave Raith).

POINCIANA – Jamie Villella spent the start of the Memorial Day Weekend touting the virtues of the Omni Hotels and Resorts at ChampionsGate, telling people about what a wonderful vacation spot it was, and how it had future plans to expand and become even better.
“We’ve had an overwhelming response to this,’’ Villella said, from the display table she set up at the Poinciana Community Center. ‘’We’ve been increasingly more busy as time has gone on.’’
But Villella wasn’t selling the virtues of the resort at 100 Masters Boulevard in ChampionsGate, the huge hotel that cuts across Polk and Osceola counties. Villella is the human resources manager for the Omni, and she’s spent the past few weeks on a search for something that hasn’t been in short supply locally for quite a few years: available workers, to fill scores of positions at the resort, from housekeepers and front desk works to some management positions.
As the Central Florida tourism economy continues to recover from the effects of the national recession and the housing market crash, and lead this region when it comes to job growth, the Omni has followed that trend, and Villella said they’re hiring – and expect to for months.
That’s why Villella and other managers from the resort reserved a room at the Poinciana Community Center on Friday, May 25, to accept resumes and interview applicants for positions with the resort.
“For us, we have many, and we are going through applications now,’’ Villella said.
The Omni is located right next door to the ChampionsGate Golf Resort, with its restaurant, gift shop and large golf course. The Omni is taking over operations of that course, expanding what it can offer as a package deal for visitors.
“We recently acquired the ChampionsGate Golf Resort, and that has enabled us to create a lot of jobs that have become available,’’ Villella said. “We’re a franchise of the Omni, and we purchased the golf course. We’ve been increasingly busy as time has gone on, and we’ll be expanding our property as well. We’ll be expanding our banquet space soon.’’

The Omni Hotel & Resorts at ChampionsGate expects to keep hiring for months, now that it acquired the nearby ChampionsGate Golf Resort. (Photo by Steve Schwartz.)

Both tourists and business travelers are coming back to Central Florida, which bodes well for the Omni this summer season, Villella said.
“Businesses are traveling again, and there has been convention growth for us,’’ Villella said. ‘’The theme parks are also helping us. We did a lot of packages with Legoland.’’
Legoland Florida is the region’s newest theme park, in Winter Haven.
“We’re split down the middle between convention business and leisure time travelers,’’ she said.
At the Poinciana Community Center, the crowds of people waiting to be interviewed didn’t have holiday weekend plans on their mind, but finding employment. Villella said she was impressed by the turnout.
“We’ve had an overwhelming response to this,’’ she said.
If anyone missed the opportunity to attend the job fair in Poinciana, that won’t be their last shot at those jobs, Villella said. For one thing, she and other Omni managers will be back in Poinciana on June 9 for a second job fair, this time at Liberty High School’s auditorium. That fair is being sponsored by the Poinciana Economic Development Alliance.
Even well past June, Villella said she expects the Omni to be hiring for months, perhaps throughout the rest of this year.
“We have jobs across the board,’’ she said, ‘’primarily hourly, full-time, and some part-time.’’
People can also call the Omni jobs hotline at 407-238-6584. People who call can speak directly with a jobs coordinator and recruiter.
“We still do walk-in applications, Monday through Friday,’’ she added. ‘’We’re looking for people with a variety of experience. They need to be 18 and older. Outside of that, we look for people to provide great customer service.’’
That includes people who have worked in professional fields, been downsized in the recession, and worry they might seem overqualified to work at the Omni. Villella said they should call anyway.
“We relate,’’ she said. ‘’We understand the market.’’
The Omni is looking for applicants to work in numerous areas, including culinary (a.m. and p.m. cooks, pastry cooks, kitchen stewards), the restaurants (hosts, dining room attendants, servers), room service (captain, server, cashier), front office (supervisor, guest service agents), the golf course (cart attendant, steward, starter), housekeeping (guest runner, linen runner, room attendants, lobby attendants), and purchasing (purchasing assistant.)
There are also management opportunities available for a director of banquests and in the front office.
To learn more, email Villella at jvillella@omnihotels.com, or log on to www.omnihotels.com/careers.

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