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Labor shortage in Idaho pushes employers to hire young people

The Idaho Department of Labor is hosting a job fair for teens and young adults at Wahooz in Meridian from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The focus is on 16-24 year olds.

BOISE, Idaho — With a tight job market in Idaho and summer approaching, employing teens and young adults may be needed to help ease some of the labor shortage.

The latest data from the Idaho Department of Labor showed the Gem State’s unemployment rate hit an all-time low of 2.7% in March. However, regional economists said employers across the state continue to struggle to fill positions.

“There are definitely not enough workers right now for the growth rate we have in Idaho,” said Jan Roeser, regional economist for the Idaho Department of Labor.

Roeser said the number of online jobs posted is around 18,000, a 10% increase from last April. She added that the civilian workforce was also up 4.5%.

“There will always be more job openings than there is the manpower needed to fill them, because that’s just the nature of working with part-time jobs,” Roeser said. .

It’s the fact that employers are looking to hire people who may have been overlooked in the past, like teenagers and young adults. Especially since this demographic is going on vacation and looking to keep busy.

“It’s a time when there’s a lot of camps, there’s a lot of recreational activities that parks and recreation provide, and they all need part-time workers,” Roeser said.

The 16 to 24 age bracket is a group that has seen a decline in civilian labor force participation rates over the past 10 to 20 years, according to Roeser.

“Children now have a lot more attention from their parents and they find that they are dedicated to sports, summer camps and extracurricular activities,” Roeser said.

Roeser said teenagers and young adults are now getting jobs later in life.

“It’s important for teenagers and young people to have that first experience in a part-time job,” Roeser said. She added that it teaches them soft skills, such as reliability, communication, problem solving, etc.

However, with labor shortages and the labor market now a market for employees, Roeser said the timing was an opportunity for young people to take advantage of seasonal positions.

To help meet needs and introduce employers to young applicants, the Idaho Department of Labor is hosting a job fair for teens and young adults at Wahooz in Meridian on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. More than 30 employers will be present, such as Bogus Basin and Brundage Mountain Resort.

“We are hiring about 100 summer seasonal employees,” said Susan Saad, director of community and customer relations at Bogus Basin. “We are currently looking for excellent potential employees for various positions on the mountain.”

Saad said hiring young people is not new to the recreation area, they hire people as young as 15. However, she said she hoped to hire a full staff for this summer that this demographic could help fill, especially after labor shortages hit a few of their departments over the season. winter, which affected their accommodation hours.

“We have a great team environment and it’s a fun place,” Saad said. “We offer free transportation to all of our employees. They get a summer pass, they get food and retail discounts.”

According to a press release from Bogus, they are looking to hire positions such as summer activity operators, track crew, ticket vendors, maintenance, environmental education staff, food and drink and more.

The opening date of Bogus for the summer season is June 10.

Rachel Wessel, human resources manager at Brundage, said that although the station has about 75% staff for the summer, they have seen fewer applicants compared to previous years. She said they were also confident that their summer staffing needs would be met. They hire teenagers as young as 14-16 years old.

Wessel said that due to housing affordability in the area, the station also has incentives like housing for some employees. Brundage rents by the piece to employees, which they must request when applying for a job. They are working to create more employee housing that will be available by the winter season.

“It makes us an even nicer place to work,” Wessel said. “We already offer a very fun environment. It’s a great adventure if you don’t already live near here to come and live here for a season or maybe more.”

Wessel said they are looking for bike patrollers and kitchen workers, like prep cooks, line cooks and dishwashers.

Brundage’s opening date for the summer season is June 17.

Roeser said his best advice for teens and young adults looking to apply for seasonal jobs is to dress up a little, bring a resume that has experience (previous jobs, clubs at school, accomplishments , etc.) and be prepared to do an on-site interview.

“They need you more than you almost need at this point,” Roeser said. “They realize they need to make it a little easier to get people to join. Many are hoping to hire people on the spot at the job fair.”

The Department of Labor will also host a youth regulation workshop just prior to the job fair, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The office will organize training for employers to familiarize themselves with the laws that apply to teenage employees.

Roeser mentioned that the job fair focuses on 16-24 year olds, anyone looking for a job is welcome on Saturday.

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