How is your business/community faring in finding available workers for this summer’s tourist season?

District Voices

Published July 1, 2005  | July 2005 issue

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No, I've had no problem. There are plenty of young people that want to work. In fact, we even have a waiting list of people looking to fill in if someone gets sick. We're new in this business. It's mostly local people-young girls that live around the lake and want to come work in the restaurant.
Gary Scott Gummer, Manager
Golden Lake Resort—Hatton, N.D

We run a school, an outdoor school for guides, who want to become big game guides. We help them locate employment. So far, it's gone really well, and those that want employment have gained that employment. And we also hired one extra [person] this summer, and we did that without any problem. We're trying to get out of [giving tours]. This year we expect it to be really good in the outfitting, guiding industry, because last year was very poor. ... And so far it has been (good).
Russ Lewis, Manager
KBL Circle Outfitters—Darby, Mont.

We're a seasonal operation anyway, so I have a lot of returning employees. I've got several that have been here upwards of 20 years. This is what they rely on. I've got a lot of other people that this is like their third or fourth year that they've come back. So we do have a lot of returning employees. ... It's so cyclical. There are times where you don't feel like you have enough people, and then there are times like nobody is here except for employees. It's just so hard to gauge when you need them and when you don't need them and that kind of thing. ... But, no, we haven't had any issues.
Jenny Brown, General Manager
Badlands Lodge—Interior, S.D.

It's hard to find people, especially resort-style stuff because the wages are ... right around minimum wage. We pay a little more than what minimum wage is. So it's hard because the kids want to work for more money, but there are not a lot of skilled positions in the resort business unless you get into more full-time cooks or maintenance people or something like that. It's hard to compete with other businesses, especially because we target the college kids who are home for the summer. So we're fully staffed now, but this year it has been a little tougher trying to find help.
Dave Schudy, Manager
Gunflint Lodge and Northwoods Outfitters—Grand Marais, Minn.

I've been here 50 years, and I think maybe 10 of those years we've actually put an ad in the paper. ... I have trouble getting [people] to clean, no trouble getting high-school kids to work the eight, nine weeks. But the cleaning help is much harder than the waitress help, because, I mean, you and I wouldn't want to go clean cabins; you could stand in a grocery store and check out food and get more money, so why clean? It's just a harder job. I could use more cleaning help.
Marvel Nielsen, Owner
Hunky Dory Resort—Balsam Lake, Wis.

The law recently passed that allowed us more H2-B visas, so we've been able to bring in more foreign workers, particularly Jamaicans. We've also been able to get more students to work this summer, and we've been able to fill most of the remaining gap with seasonal help from other parts of the country. So all in all, we're faring a bit better than we thought we would in finding enough workers this summer.
Bob Benser, President
Mackinac Island Tourism Association—Mackinac Island, Mich.