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Rapid City businesses are in need of staff

Published: May. 7, 2021 at 7:10 PM CDT|Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 7:11 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - In a year that’s hopeful to return some normality to everyday life... going out and enjoying newfound freedoms could have a potential barrier.

2021 seasonal jobs are proving difficult to fill, according to Prairie Edge General Manager, Dan Tribby.

“Probably our biggest challenge for the Black Hills, is going to be how do you get enough employees to fill up the businesses? That, I think, for the summer will be one of the biggest challenges,” says Tribby.” How do you get enough people to stay open the amount of hours that you want to stay open?”

The unemployment rate in South Dakota is low, under 3-percent, which makes jobs tough to fill solely with South Dakotans.

The Vice President of Wall Drug, Sarah Hustead, says that makes it tough for businesses.

“If you’re in tourism and you’re trying to staff completely based on the local population, it’s just not high enough. We don’t have the available workforce to field this,” says Hustead.

Some businesses are known to triple their staff when need be.

‘We have 60 full time, year round employees,” says Hustead, “and then in summer, our staff jumps up to 200.”

Usually, businesses rely on both in-house students, and foreign-students, to staff their summer positions.

There’s not a lot of H2B visas , which provide foreign students the ability to work, to go around this year, and local students are difficult to convince.

Long story short, businesses are competing for employees.

“We’ve had to think of incentives, and how can we help attract employees? We’ve had to get a little creative,” says Hustead. “We’ve got a program going with the high school kids - if you refer someone, you get a gift card.”

Even going as far as using popular movies as a draw.

“There’s been a lot of press on Nomadland... that lifestyle of work-camping, so we added 15 new slots this summer,” says Hustead.

Diving into a pool might be difficult if people don’t dive into seasonal jobs first.

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