PI Editorial: Reasons vary for worker shortages, but creativity can go a long way to address it
Go practically anywhere in Garfield County, and you’ll see them: signs offering starting wages that not too long ago would have been considered unusually high.
What you don’t see much of so far are those signs going away. It seems that Garfield County, like many places around the country, is in need of more workers.
So what’s driving the worker shortage? It’s likely numerous factors. The supplemental unemployment insurance currently in place, rising housing costs causing people to move and a disrupted child care market were just some of the reasons cited in a recent Post Independent story by reporter Shannon Marvel.
There’s also the fact that everyone has been going through a uniquely stressful time during the pandemic. We all cope differently, and the mental health toll of the past year-plus is very real. Some people aren’t yet ready to return to the workforce.
So if it’s not one thing in particular, what can businesses throughout Garfield County do to attract workers? Getting creative, as opposed to merely increasing wages, might offer some relief for businesses.
The Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is doing just that by offering to reimburse employees taking 12 or more college credits. Those who work more hours get more of their tuition reimbursed, which is a win-win for the Adventure Park, the employee and even the community at large. After all, workers who seek more skills and education add a lot of value to the entire workforce.
What other creative ideas have you heard of businesses taking on to attract workers? The more we can share what works, the easier it will be to get our tourism workforce back up to full speed once again.
With that in mind, we’d also remind everyone that many people throughout Garfield County are new to their current job. No matter what it is, there’s always a learning curve for people to get comfortable and up to speed on the job, so keep that in mind and try to offer more grace and understanding to all employees throughout the community.
The Post Independent editorial board members are Publisher Bryce Jacobson, Editor Peter Baumann, Managing Editor/Senior Reporter John Stroud, and community representatives Amy Connerton and Karl Oelke.
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