EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - It didn’t seem like it Monday, but summer isn't that far away and some looking for seasonal work may be too late.
Although it's been cool and damp out, seasonal businesses in the Eau Claire area are ready for the
bright sun and sizzling temperatures. A big part of that preparation is finding the right staff.
“With cashiers, we had over 80 applicants and only hired 12,” Eau Claire Parks Recreation and Forestry Program Supervisor Chad Duerkop, who oversees the Fairfax Pool, said.
“This year, we got a lot more applicants of the college age and a few years aback, we got a lot more retired people, just looking for something to fill that time, so it is cyclical and we are seeing more of the younger high school age kids trying start to look for employment again,” Mill Run Golf Course Head Golf Professional Jim Buyze said.
Both the Fairfax pool and Mill Run golf course offer job opportunities to young people, even if they haven't had any prior work experience.
“I like getting that new high school kid, whether he's never worked before as a lifeguard or cashier. That way we can mold them. We can mold them and shape them to how we want that employee to be,” Duerkop said.
But both are full for the year, and Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Regional Labor Economist Bill Brockmiller said unemployment at ages 16 to 24 is nearly double the general population's.
“But it would appear from the early indications that it should be better than last year,” Brockmiller said.
Employers said the experience young workers can gain will last them a lifetime.
“(A golf course is) one of the few places where generations interact with each other,” Buyze said.
“We have 17-year-old lifeguards that have to tell a 40-year-old pool patron that ‘that's not the rule.’ That's hard for a young person to do and we teach that here,” Duerkop said.
Brockmiller said those looking will need to act fast.
“There are still opportunities available, but it's not time to sit on the sidelines whatsoever,” Brockmiller said.
He said industries that hire teens have been filling jobs year, round which is a good sign heading into the summer.