The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives in many ways. It has affected some more than others because the pandemic has taken livelihoods.
Kellie Molter of Riverview is just one of the millions of people whose career path has taken a turn because of COVID-19.
“Pre-COVID, I was a VPK teacher for schools in FishHawk and I worked at a salon in Brandon,” Molter said. “When the school shut down for spring break, I kind of had a feeling I was going to be off for longer than spring break.”
When the pandemic hit, Molter’s VPK and salon closed, but since she was a teacher, Molter had already been looking into other sources of income because she had summers off from teaching.
“Luckily, when things shut down, I was already looking for other work for the summer,” Molter said. “I saw a post on one for the FishHawk group pages about needing health screeners. I reached out and was hired, so I was fortunate enough to not have to go on unemployment.”
The company that hired Molter is contracted through TECO and Mosaic. Molter works five days a week doing temperature checks at TECO’s Big Bend location.
“The only downside to this job is that I have to get up at 3 a.m. because my shift begins at 4:15 a.m.,” Molter said. “I usually work about five hours a day, so this gives me the rest of the day to be with my family.”
Originally, Molter’s health screening job was supposed to last until May of this year, but her contract has since been renewed through the holidays.
“I’ve decided to take the rest of the year off from teaching because of the way things are right now with COVID and going back to the classrooms,” Molter said. “I’m actually making more money doing the health screening than I was teaching, which is sad when you think about it. For now, I’m enjoying this new job and having more family time. I’m very optimistic about the next 12 to 18 months.”
As of July this year, Florida’s unemployment rate was 11.3 percent. Florida experienced a loss of 497,700 jobs since July 2019, with the bulk of the loss happening during the pandemic.