Park City seasonal workers on the hunt
The ski season is coming to an end – causing many winter outdoor enthusiasts to make adjustments to their outdoor activities. As the snow melts away from the resorts, seasonal employees have bigger worries than what brand of mud tire they should use on their mountain bike in the spring sludge – they need new jobs.
According to staff at the Department of Workforce Services office in Park City – they see an influx of job-seekers stop in during the spring months.
"The current unemployment rate in Park City is 5-percent, which is slightly less than the state rate," said Jon Mathews, job developer in the Summit County office. "We always see a jump in the unemployment rate during this time of year. "
In January 2012, when most seasonal workers are at their winter jobs – the unemployment rate in Summit County was 4.4-percent according to the department’s website. However, after the season comes to an end and winter jobs melt away, in a sense like the winter snow, the unemployment rate jumped to 8.4%.
"The non-seasonal numbers are relevant here in Park City when they normally wouldn’t be anywhere else in the state," Matthews said. "It’s important we engage the seasonal job seekers that are being laid off in the area. Our goal at the department is to keep workers here in Summit County, who are so important to the tourism-based economy."
According to Matthews, this is over 1,000 job seekers that get dumped into the unemployment pool here in Summit County and doesn’t account for the non-residents that leave the area after their work is finished.
"This is what we take care of every year," Mitchell said. "I don’t see a big improvement in job numbers than last year, but we have all of the necessary tools for job-seekers to do what is necessary to find a job in the area."
Many of the mountain resorts, restaurants and other outdoor retail stores in Park City are forced to lay-off staff when the winter busy season comes to an end. Some seasonal workers are contract laborers that work for the winter and leave the area for similar vocations throughout the country, but a majority of workers stay and look for other jobs, according to Kenny Hicken, employment office supervisor at the office in Summit County.
"If I was in the position you find a lot of the resort employees, I would come in and meet with one of our staff," Hicken said. "This will give us an opportunity to see what transferable job skills they have. From that point, we get them registered into the website and they meet with a job developer like me who finds jobs that fit their background."
The website http://www.jobs.utah.gov has many or more of the benefits of coming into the office, Hicken added.
Jen Radjeski, originally from Indiana, moved to Park City eight years ago to work seasonally and enjoy the active lifestyle, she said during an interview with The Park Record.
"I have a lot of friends, including myself, that do the seasonal thing," said Radjeski, former Legends bartender at Park City Mountain Resort. "Most locals head to San Juan or the East Coast to take advantage of the high volume summer crowds. Others find a different or second job in the service industry."
Radjeski recently relocated to the Denver area to take a non-seasonal job. During her time in Park City, Radjeski explained, her lifestyle consisted of working a number of jobs during the winter – saving enough to enjoy the Utah summers as she pleased.
"I loved the seasonal work, but I am ready for a steady paycheck and a new adventure," Radjeski said. "The seasonal thing can be frustrating when [Park City] is full of tourists, but that’s how we make our money."
According to Bryson Allen, director of human resources at Canyons Resort, the resort employed nearly 1,800 people during the ski season. That number will drop to 700 during the summer.
"We have a lot of options for our seasonal employees," Allen said. "For those that don’t transition to summer jobs with Canyons, we have summer partners that come in and recruit jobs for summer resorts, cruise ships and other areas in February. This gives employees extra time to make summer plans instead of being dead in the water at the end of the ski year."
Ski patrollers and other employees that return year after year don’t usually need to take the workforce services approach like other workers.
"Most of our patrollers return every year and go into river guiding or land management fields during the summer," Allen said. "Most of these employees have worked hard over the years to get this kind of arrangement, but we are seeing more and more jobs carrying over into the summer months [at Canyons], making things easier for those not as prepared."
The Park City Department of Workforce Services office is located at 1960 Sidewinder Drive. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
"We have all the resources one needs to find a job in the area," Mathews said. "Job-seekers just need to get out there and contact the many employers in the area that have positions available."
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