Jennifer Wesselhoff: Housing and hiring
Park City Pulse
Are you, your friends or employees looking for housing in the Park City area? Then you know finding decent housing at an affordable price is difficult, whether buying or renting. Are you a business looking to hire reliable workers? Then you know the labor shortage is so severe in some cases that you’re forced to reduce your business hours.
Housing unaffordability not only impedes progress on diversity, equity and inclusion, it unbalances our economy by pushing average wage earners out of town and discouraging young families from moving here, a threat to our long-term sustainability. Naturally, it shrinks an already evaporating labor pool.
Where to start in addressing these connected issues? The Chamber/Bureau and Park City Board of Realtors, along with other partners, are co-sponsoring two events on Aug. 31 that begin to tackle both.
The Housing Opportunity Expo is free for anyone needing professional advice on finding reasonably priced housing. Attendees can chat with reps from Mountainlands Community Housing Trust, the Christian Center of Park City and Habitat for Humanity of Summit and Wasatch Counties. Local government housing officials will be there to help explore renting options. Many renters don’t realize the help these agencies can provide, such as Habitat’s guide to local affordable rentals. Mountainlands has developed many income- and rent-restricted apartment complexes and can direct renters to these communities and advise on waitlisting. The Christian Center has rental information resources and can help families and individuals who need food, clothing and/or mental health assistance. Government reps can fill you in on programs that may help. The expo runs from 4 to 7 p.m. at 1889 Prospector Ave., adjacent to the Park City Board of Realtors offices.
Restaurants and other businesses have been forced to close for hours this summer due to staff shortages — extremely frustrating for outlets still recovering from pandemic shutdowns. A countywide workforce housing coalition may be a partial solution, and it is one of many ideas on the table at a special interactive panel discussion at the Sheraton Park City at 8:30 a.m. Research, data, trends and statewide resources for employers and employees are also on the agenda.
Park City business panelists will share recruitment and retention experiences — good and bad — and ideas for strengthening the employment pool. Confirmed panelists include Jeff Jones, Summit County’s economic development director; Jonathan Weidenhamer, economic development director for Park City; Patrick Donegan, workforce development specialist for the Department of Workforce Services WDD Division; and Worley Pace, consolidated veteran service representative for the Department of Workforce Services WDD Division. These experts will bring the latest regional labor data and discuss how local and state governments might help.
Bring your questions, thoughts and ideas, as the Q&A session is an essential part of the two-hour panel. You can can RSVP at VisitParkCity.com
Workforce housing and the labor shortage are two of the most critical issues we face. At the Chamber/Bureau, we support united community efforts to find solutions that work for Park City and Summit County. We will continue growing our partnerships and advocating for issues to help keep Park City moving toward a sustainable future.
Jennifer Wesselhoff is president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau. She served for 13 years as president/CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, where she led development of Arizona’s first sustainable tourism plan. She is a certified destination management executive and a sustainability consultant, and loves skiing and hiking with new friends.
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