Campaign aims to bring seasonal employees to town

Port Main Street Inc.launches effort to help local businesses recruit summer workers
By 
CONNOR CARYNSKI
Ozaukee Press Staff

Port Main Street Inc. is lending downtown businesses a hand with their summer hiring needs this year as many in the service industry struggle to support a strong staff.

 On April 1, Main Street Executive Director Kristina Tadeo sent an email to business owners informing them the group would be implementing several initiatives to support seasonal hiring this summer.

Tadeo said finding workers to accommodate the tourist season in Port has always been a challenge for local businesses but given the impact of the pandemic and a lack of employees available, Main Street is doing what it can to help fill vacant positions.

One resource that will be available to businesses is the “Work Downtown” page located under the “Business Resources” tab on downtownport.com. Job listings from businesses will be posted on the page free of charge.

Tadeo said the webpage will create a central hub for those looking to work in Port Washington and provide additional exposure for businesses that need to fill positions.

Job listings may be sent to pwmainstreetad@gmail.com.

With so many restaurants, hotels and other businesses looking for help this summer, Tadeo said she expects the page to fill quickly.

The listings may also come in handy at college job fairs Main Street plans to attend in coming months.

Tadeo said while still in the planning process, she hopes Main Street will be able to attend job fairs at Concordia University and Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Mequon campus to showcase the benefits of working in Port and share job openings with students.

The college visits will connect youths who often work in service industry positions during their summer break with open positions, much like the Port Washington High School Summer Job Fair, which is being organized by the Harborview hotel.

The job fair will be held April 27 at the school from 1 to 3 p.m.

Those interested in having a table or representative at the event may contact Cathy Wilger at gm@theharborview.com.

This spring, Main Street will also begin a social media campaign to promote working in Port by showcasing the proximity to Lake Michigan, nearby natural areas and  the history of the community. Promotions will link to the page where local job listings are posted.

Tadeo said she hopes the efforts will help businesses find the help they need to maintain regular hours. Last year, many businesses cut hours or closed for periods of time, either due to a lack of workers or to give their staff time to rest from working with a barebones crew.

“Absolutely there were closures during the week,” Tadeo said. “Some businesses even had employees get to the point of exhaustion and just closed for an entire week.”

While there’s no way to know if employee shortages will continue this year, Tadeo said she believes businesses are preparing for the worst and are happy to have another recruitment resource.

“I think businesses are just happy for any free help they can get to promote those job openings,” she said.

 Word of the campaign came as good news to Cameron Huck, general manager of Inventors Brewpub.

Huck said Inventors generally hires 10 seasonal positions each year to assist with the summer rush but were unable to do so last year. Staffing was so tight, Huck said, he had to step in as a chef for much of the season.

“It’s been difficult. I think this whole area struggled for help, especially last season,” he said. “We had our feelers out. We had paid ads out but people just weren’t clicking the button to apply.”

Relying on high school and college workers to fill the gaps, Huck said he is pleased to hear their listings would be shown to students at PWHS and local colleges.

As public fears around Covid-19 recede, Huck said people are anxious to begin dining out again, and that this summer may be the biggest the restaurant industry has seen in years.

 To prepare for the summer surge, Huck said, Inventors is taking out help wanted ads and using contacts to spread word about positions.

 While it’s impossible to know for sure, Huck said, he expects the worker shortage to slightly improve this summer.

“I think we should see a slight comeback,” he said.
   

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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