By Kellie Butler Farrel

High school and college students have plenty of choices this summer when it comes to rewarding, challenging, and lucrative jobs in the Upper Keys. The labor shortage and the housing crisis are creating a summer job market that is hotter than ever.

“From top to bottom of the Keys, I think all of us in the resort industry have struggled to ensure our staffing levels are optimal to provide services to guests,” said Shannon Harbolt, director of human resources at Islander Resort. “So I think there will be a lot of opportunities for middle and high school students this summer.” The Islander is looking for people to work in the pool and beach concessions, as well as in the resort’s restaurants. Six positions are currently open and listed on the Islander’s website.

From hospitality and retail to restaurants and entertainment, summer jobs are here for you.

“We are definitely looking. We have great summer jobs here,” said Anne Onsgard, program manager at Founders Park. Onsgard is looking for staff to help run the popular summer camp program which runs from June 6 to July 29. Applicants must be at least 15 years old and can earn $12 to $14 per hour. The Florida minimum wage is $10 an hour.

“We are looking for two senior advisers, 40 hours per week, and two regular part-time advisers who work 25-28 hours per week,” Onsgard added.

Founders Park is also looking for lifeguards. Lifeguards must be certified. A certification course is currently taking place at the park and another course may be offered later this summer. Lifeguards learn valuable skills, such as first aid, water rescue techniques and CPR. And then there are the other perks of the job.

“You get a good tan, you meet a lot of people, you do good people skills, you can’t be shy about letting people know that rules exist and they need to be safe,” 20 said. years old- former lifeguard Gabe Pena. Pena is a student at the College of the Florida Keys and has worked at Founders for nine months. Lifeguards must also be at least 15 years old. It’s a lot of responsibility, but there is a payoff. The starting salary is $14.99 per hour.

Publix hires teenagers for its two Upper Keys stores. Publix hires students as young as 14, and it can lead to more than just a summer job.

“Given school will be out soon, all Keys stores are looking to hire underage workers with the understanding that their hours will be adjusted once school resumes in the fall,” said Lindsay Willis, relationship manager with media for Publix.

Islamorada Zero Dress Code boutique is looking to recruit two part-time employees.

“It’s expensive to live here, so people come from the mainland, they come to where they don’t come from the mainland anymore. So we’re just looking for people who live here to work here,” manager Sandra Murphy said. said Zero Dress Code offers a competitive salary and a very generous employee discount on store merchandise.”We pay pretty well, we give a big discount. It’s a nice store to work in,” Murphy added.

Employers in the Keys say they’ve realized that to attract qualified candidates, they need to raise salaries and offer other perks, like flexible work hours.

“We’re in the Keys and we know what the cost of living is here, so we’re being realistic,” said Lizzette Romero, human resources manager at Forest Tek and Overseas Lumber. Romero took to social media and radio to advertise the job openings. They are looking to hire four employees, three to work at their flagship store in Tavernier and one to work at their new store, Keys Mercantile Home, a new home goods and hardware store in Islamorada. Entry-level jobs start at $15 per hour. Other higher paying jobs are available to qualified applicants. Candidates must be at least 18 years old to apply.

In all industries, competent and reliable employees are in high demand. For the young people of the Upper Keys this summer, it represents an opportunity.

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