Hiring brisk in seasonal tourism jobs
Area businesses in the visitor industry say they’re looking to hire more seasonal help this year than last, optimistic that tourist traffic and spending will increase again this summer.
Prairie Berry Winery plans to hire 60 employees, compared to about 50 last year, HR manager Darcy Sales said. They’re holding a hiring open house from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday and have been posting job openings on Facebook and Twitter.
Sales said the increase is “due to the growth of the winery and just the love for the winery in the community.”
The increase is in frontline positions in the tasting room, wine club sales and deli.
While a love for wine is a good qualification, Sales said she is more interested in “great people who want to serve the customer.” The winery’s orientation program and ongoing staff training can educate the staff about the wine.
Sales will be hiring mostly college students, retirees and educators looking for summer jobs. She said she is halfway through hiring and that applicant flow “feels strong for the season.”
The state Department of Tourism estimates that the travel industry employs 35,700 statewide, though information about how that number is compiled was not immediately available. The state Department of Labor and Regulation does not track labor-force numbers for tourism because it includes so many other industries, such as restaurants, hotels and attractions.
In the department’s Rapid City field office, assistant manager Fred Dieken said there are about 250 seasonal openings listed right now, but that includes seasonal work such as construction trades as well as hospitality and tourism.
Strong visitor numbers through the winter months kept more people employed in jobs such as housekeeping, he said.
People looking for seasonal jobs this summer need to hurry, Dieken said.
“You most likely should have started six weeks ago,” he said. And he advised not waiting for a response from one employer before putting in an application with another.
“Right now, everybody’s experiencing an employer’s market,” Dieken said. “It’s that way more so than it was three years ago.”
Crazy Horse Memorial has seen more job applicants this year than in the past, president and chief executive officer Ruth Ziolkowski said.
“And that’s good, because we will be hiring more people than last year because we were short-staffed last year,” she said. “If I were to guess, I would say we could be hiring 25 percent more for this coming summer.”
She said the memorial has 82 year-round staffers, and the summer hiring push would expand employment to about 220.
Memorial officials were cautious about hiring in 2010 because of economic uncertainty but ultimately saw an 8 percent increase in visitation because of a growing number of motorcoach groups.
That experience, plus continued increases in bookings and information requests, led to this year’s decision to increase hiring.
Administrative director Don Gifford said hiring has been going well with strong applicants, but kitchen and waitstaff positions have been harder to fill because of a large number of restaurant jobs in the area.
Contact Barbara Soderlin at 394-8417 or email@example.com.