After a summer of high footfall and low employment rates, Aspen businesses are gearing up for a winter season by seeking willing and capable employees.
State Department of Labor data shows that the summer of 2021 was an extremely busy tourist season for resort towns in Colorado – while simultaneously showing that the number of jobs in the service sector had declined significantly. Pitkin County listed a workforce of 10,977 workers last August, up from 11,232 workers in August 2020. County and state officials attributed the drop to large numbers of local workers in the city. service industry moving elsewhere to find new lines of work due to economic conditions. changes during the pandemic.
The Roaring Fork Valley has not been immune to gas and supply shortages this summer, which a spokesperson for King Soopers and City Market attributed to a lack of truck drivers. The nationwide labor shortage is no secret, so ahead of ski season, Aspen’s tourism industry will be holding a number of career fairs this fall to recruit employees. both locally and remotely.
“People want to be here to work,” said Jeff Hanle, vice president of communications for Aspen Skiing Co. “We’re going to have to get creative to make it work for them and to make it work for us. “
SkiCo is currently accepting applications for the winter season, Hanle said, and for the third year in a row the pool of applicants is large. The problem isn’t that there aren’t enough workers there, Hanle noted, but that workers who take jobs and move to the valley can’t find housing.
“It’s a lack of housing in the valley, and it affects us and it affects everyone here,” Hanle said. “We’re lucky – we have 150 beds in the workers’ housing in Willits that we didn’t have last year. But it is still not enough.
SkiCo’s strategy this season is to seek out more local employees. The company can offer a full package of benefits including ski passes for the whole family, healthcare and discounts. Henle said the company can be flexible with schedules as well, so if an employee needs to drop their kids off at school in the morning, work in a restaurant for a few hours three days a week, and then leave before the day leaves. school, the business can make it work.
SkiCo also expects several J-1 visa holders to return to the valley this season for work, which was not possible last year due to the pandemic. Hanle said it was a good thing.
“We were still struggling with a lot of COVID-related issues at the start of the summer,” he said. “When you’ve had an outbreak at a particular restaurant, hotel, or division and all of a sudden you’ve lost half of your staff because they had to quarantine, it really takes a toll. You’re trying to get people from another restaurant, and that restaurant is understaffed. We keep our fingers crossed that we don’t see anything like it this winter, which doesn’t appear to be the case. “
SkiCo will be hosting two career fairs this fall. On October 14th, SkiCo will be attending the Colorado Mountain Town Winter Career Fair. Interested persons must register on aspensnowmass.com/jobs. SkiCo will also post information next month on a second job fair in November, which will be SkiCo specific and virtual.
Those looking for seasonal work in Aspen will also have the option of attending a career fair for two new resort hotels: Viewline Resort Snowmass, Autograph Collection and Wildwood Resort Snowmass. The hotels offer a strong referral bonus program, ski, bus and recreation passes, shift meals, and paid parking. Open positions include front desk agent, phone attendant, reservation agents, night listeners, bartenders, waiters, hosts, cooks, dishwashers, gardeners, massage therapists and more .
The Career Fair will be held in Snowmass on Monday, October 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Snowmass Collective at 49 Wood Road in Snowmass Village. Job seekers are not required to confirm attendance, but they can do so at https://bit.ly/RSVPHiringEvent. Participants are also encouraged to bring a curriculum vitae. Applications are available on https://bit.ly/ViewlineJobs.