The McHenry distribution center for Follett School Solutions is going on a hiring spree to meet rising demand for print books the Illinois-based company sells to school systems for use in libraries and classrooms, its executive vice president said.
The company hopes to add about 150 workers total, with plans to add to each of the positions in the warehouse, said Britten Follett, the executive vice president.
A swell in orders of print books has pushed demand to pre-pandemic levels as schools look to stock their libraries in anticipation of more normal, in-person learning environments in the coming weeks and months, Follett said.
The company saw its about $250 million print book business fall 70% in terms of inbound orders during the COVID-19 outbreak, she said.
While there was a rise in demand for e-books on digital platforms supplied by the company during the public health crisis, the increase did not match the print drop in terms of books sold, Follett said.
“There is a lot of screen time fatigue and a desire to get kids using print books coming out of the pandemic,” Follett said. “There is going to be a blend moving forward, but I think what the pandemic did do is make students more familiar with e-books. They now know how to access them, use them, teachers know how to use them for instruction.”
Now the company is seeing sales beat year-over-year numbers from last year as the reopening of schools is underway.
Overall book sales to schools in McHenry County are up 28% compared with this time last year, Follett said, and surges in the company’s print book sales are occurring across the country.
The company is holding job fairs to help fill the distribution center positions from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and those interested in applying and interviewing to work there should schedule a time slot online at bit.ly/FollettSchedule.
Open positions include book processors, pickers, receivers, shippers and packers, quality assurance clerks and support clerks.
Walk-in appointments are not allowed, candidates can bring a résumé but one is not mandatory and the dress code is casual, the company said in a news release.