Mary Gage, director of Hire Scene, said the idea for the app originated when the company’s founder Mike Youngblood was sitting in an Uber and thought, “Well, if we do this with cars, why can’t we do this with jobs?”

Gage, a member of ECU’s class of 2014, said the application has been in development for three years and Hire Scene’s headquarters is located within the technology incubator on North Carolina State University’s centennial campus.

 “It’s a mobile app that’s free for users and it’s designed to instantly link app users to immediately available jobs in the hospitality industries,” Gage said. “What happens when you become a part of the app (is that) you’re able to see jobs in the area that match your skills and experience and then you are able to decide if you want to work or not.”

According to Gage, app users can create their own schedules to work as much or as little as they choose. Gage said it’s generally event-based jobs ,such as banquet servers, bartenders and concessions.

“It’s a very similar concept to Uber, but instead of people driving cars, they are picking up jobs in the hospitality industry,” Gage said.

Gage said the application launched in September in Raleigh and is now on track for a national roll out.

“It will be going national, not just in North Carolina,” Gage said. “We’re looking forward to being in more cities before the end of 2018.”

Chelsea Lucas, a recruiter for Hire Scene, said her role begins when people download the application or when events have a specific request for a hospitality major user to send in their applications. Lucas, a member of ECU’s class of 2013, said she then gets in touch with the applicants and really takes a look at their background history and their work to see exactly what they are qualified for.

“I set up video interviews or virtual interviews, so we never have to have anyone come into the office for any kind of paperwork,” Lucas said. “So, it’s nice and easy for our new app members that are going to come on board because they are able to do everything from the comfort of their own home.”

Lucas said Hire Scene users can access the application on both their computers at the company’s website and their mobile devices through its app.

NC State alumna, Sandra Youngblood, the co-founder of Hire Scene, said she has played a large role in the company from the beginning. She said her role is to help identify the sources to find the “gig worker” and oversee everything from an operational standpoint.

Youngblood said from a global standpoint, there’s a lot of opportunities and Hire Scene needs to decide what avenues it wants to take at this point.

“I think I am looking at it (the future) from a global perspective in terms of growth. I certainly want to see us in some of the major cities in the country,” Youngblood said. “We are actually talking with some groups down in South America who are very interested in partnering with us.”

Gage said it is extremely important to Hire Scene to recruit students and post-grads with hospitality management backgrounds. She said both Lucas and herself both worked for Hyatt hotels prior to coming into the creation and management of Hire Scene. They stressed that having that experience is important when it comes to the management of the application.

“So we have actually lived and breathed to operation side of hospitality which makes Chelsea that much stronger from a recruiting standpoint, and then myself is over all the big picture of the on-demand division,” Gage said. “It’s so important to the launch of this app to be able to fully understand both sides of the industry.”

Gage said the application is for all different types of employees such as college students, single parents or full-time workers who need extra money.

Gage and Lucas said they were both hospitality management majors and highly involved students while enrolled at ECU, participating in the National Society for Minorities in Hospitality and being ECU tour guides. Both women kept a continuous link to ECU through staying connected with their professors even after graduation.

Gage said she received an outstanding graduate award from the School of Hospitality Leadership and now returns to ECU to guest speak in hospitality classes.

“I’m really glad to have graduated from East Carolina University and will always be open to supporting the University in talking to students in any way that I can,” Gage said. “Get started as soon as you can, start gaining experiences as a freshman. Don’t wait until your required internship junior year because the sooner you start and gain that work experience, the more competitive you’re going to be when you graduate.”