Noem announces new initiative for tourism jobs

Businesses are hiring across the Black Hills.
Businesses are hiring across the Black Hills.(Connor Matteson)
Published: May. 4, 2021 at 5:22 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - South Dakota is seeing open positions for businesses across the state, including in the tourism industry which supports almost 50,000 jobs alone.

“One of the biggest challenges that tourism is facing right now is workforce,” says Governor Kristi Noem. “All of you are looking for enough people to fill the jobs to take care of people and give them outstanding customer service. So we are starting a new initiative that’s going to partner with businesses and our department of labor with our department of tourism to make sure we are connecting people to the jobs that they can have right here in our beautiful state.”

And another potential reason for the open positions? Department of Tourism Secretary James Hagen says it might be because the H2 - B seasonal visa process seems to be moving slower than usual.

“The Biden Administration just announced an additional 22,000 workers who are going to be made available on top of the normal allocation of 67,000, but that’s just a drop in the bucket, literally, and so but from what I understand from partners it has been moving very slow,” says Hagen.

And with an expected busy season, Noem wants to advertise these positions to not only South Dakotans, but anyone that wants to come here with a passion for tourism.

Meanwhile, one of the busiest tourism hot spots in Rapid City has noticed a drop in applicants as well.

“As far as numbers, we have had a lot less applicants this year you know we’ve experienced a lot of the same issues as many other businesses in the area have, but we are nearly fully staffed now,” says HR Assistant David Yahne. “We’ve been conducting interviews since the beginning of February, so we’ve been doing it for a few months now and we’re finally at the point where we are almost full staffed.”

However, Yahne says the amount of returning staff members has increased.

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