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Finding More Summer Help Is Focus Of Minocqua Meeting


The Northwoods has hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, but a shortage of seasonal workers has caused the Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce to convene a meeting to see what can be done.

Executive Director Krystal Westfahl says the Northwoods economy is becoming dependent on a shrinking work force...

"....We've been seeing a workforce shortage across the state. It impacts us in the north a little bit more because of the type of businesses we have here. We 've been seeing a steady decline in the amount of people we have available to work..."

In decades past, local high schoolers filled those jobs. But as school districts can attest to, there are fewer young people in the Northwoods.

Krystal Westfahl says the shortage of workers could have long term negative effects on the region when the summer tourists arrive...

"...We are inundated by hundreds of thousands of tourists. When we can't provide the level of service they are expecting, that makes our destination look not as desireable than some others. We're hoping to help out that customer service issue by, how can we provide more employees here? Is there out-of-the box thinking that we're not tapping into right now that potentially couled help us?.."

One possibility is to build specific housing for the workers.

She says while the Minocqua Area Chamber organized the meeting, they've had many other individuals and businesses interested in talking about the shortage. She says people from Bayfield and Vilas county and others are joining in the discussion with Minocqua-area people.

Westfahl says she hopes something like a task force emerges to see how the worker shortage can be addressed.

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