Seasonal work available in metro Detroit, but supervisors struggle to find applicants
(WXYZ) – When the weather turns better and the school year draws to a close, it is usually a busy time for older teenagers looking to make a little extra cash.
But even as Michigan reopens, they seem to be lingering outside the workforce.
Take gastronomy, for example, which is also fighting this problem at the national level. According to the National Restaurant and Lodging Association, four in ten fast casual, casual or family dining operators say they have jobs that are difficult to fill.
Part of the challenge, according to the NRLA, is that two-thirds of those working in the restaurant industry are between 16 and 34 years old and the workforce has declined by 2 million people.
“One of the challenges is probably to underestimate them. I mean, there are some days when we burn out employees. We just closed on Sundays to keep the current workforce, “said Lisa Walters, business partner at Mootz Pizzeria.
Usually, she said, it isn’t that difficult to find employees.
“We need pizza makers, we need our line cooks, some dishwashers, bartenders, waiters,” she said.
And Walters is not alone, there are signs reading “Help Wanted” and “We Hiring” in fast food and sit-down restaurants around Metro Detroit.
Spring is also usually when park departments seek seasonal help, and are often aimed at teenagers preparing for college or the job market.
“We have approximately 300 open positions that we would like to fill,” said Sue Wells, interim executive officer for Oakland County Parks.
“Before the pandemic, we weren’t that short in any way,” she said. “We were able to operate our golf courses to the full and now have to adjust the hours.”
Oakland County Parks needs 83 lifeguards to fully operate its two water parks. Red Oaks in Madison Heights and Waterford Oaks in Waterford.
Currently only 17 have returned and only 46 new applications have been received this season.
“I think one reason and maybe the main reason is COVID. The fear of being with the public. Our challenge is, where are people going because of COVID? They go outside, they go in the parks, “Wells said.
Starting next week, Oakland County Parks will be holding recruitment fairs and on-site interviews at each park location. You can also apply for vacancies online.
Prior to COVID, the Detroit City Park and Recreation Department employed 55 lifeguards, now the number is 35. Indoor pools will no longer be open this summer due to the pandemic.
Brennan Pool, an outdoor pool, will be open seven days a week from June 21st. This department is also looking for additional help this summer.
Walters said COVID-related concerns have also influenced the desire of some employees to return to Mootz, along with some employees who are collecting additional unemployment from the state. Extended unemployment benefits expire in Michigan on Saturday.
“Whether they’re a dishwasher, whether they’re babysitting, whether they’re mowing lawns, or whether they’re considering a possible internship where they might not get paid but get an experience,” said Eva Dodds of Collegewise Metro Detroit.
Dodd’s advice to young people looking to work? Adapt your exemptions to the pandemic. Paid internships in traditional offices may not be on the table for a while, but employers and colleges are looking for transferable skills like time management and problem solving. Things you can learn in almost any setting.
The hourly rate for a job at Oakland County Parks starts at around $ 10 and increases to around $ 17 depending on the job.
“It’s an opportunity to work outdoors, it’s an opportunity to work with your peers and actually have fun,” Wells said.