Employers making extra efforts to boost hiring
With just a record low unemployment rate in California, businesses in small communities like Truckee and the North Shore are having to step up efforts to recruit qualified personnel.
“Our applicant rate is down right now. It’s down enough that we are looking into foreign programs in Australia, New Zealand and that kind of thing,” said Steve Grimm, owner of Donner Ski Ranch on Donner Summit. “We are working with several different agencies plus the office of immigration. With unemployment the way it is it’s hard to find people right now.”
Megan McGee, executive assistant to the president for Trek Alliance, a direct sales company based in Incline Village with 20,000 representatives nationwide, has also been having a hard time finding qualified people.
“We have a $250 referral bonus for new, full-time employees who make it through the 90-day probation period,” McGee said.
Trek Alliance just filled two positions, but has five remaining openings right now.
“We average about three openings a month, and it is true we are having a difficult time finding help.”
To boost the number of applicants, Trek Alliance posts job opportunities through the Employment Development Department (EDD) through the state of California. The department has a free web site that lists job opportunities.
“These governmental agencies are great because they are free, and we get instant notification of inquiries,” McGee said.
The 50 employees with Trek Alliance moved their corporate offices from Truckee to North Shore June 6.
New Zealand transplant Carol Smith, manager of the Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort in Soda Springs for the last eight years, said she has seen the application rate decline.
“We’re not doing anything different this year,” she said. “For full-time employees we still have housing available, and we have a lot of exchange student/employees coming through,” Smith said. “We have a lot of part-time positions open for weekends and holidays and 10 full-time positions right now. But part-timers seem to be the hardest ones to get these days.”
Denise Mix, Human Resources Director with Homewood Mountain Resort, said this is the first time the resort has looked overseas for employees.
However, Mix is excited about the program because the resort just signed an exclusive deal with Homewood Marina Lodge for an employee housing contract.
“We just got the final OK for an agreement with Homewood Marina Lodge directly across the street – which is lakefront property – and they are going to be renting exclusively to Homewood employees,” she said.
Between 50 and 70 beds will be available to employees. The number of beds per unit varies. All of the units have kitchens, furnished down to silverware and plates.
“I was making phone calls contacting anyplace I could think of to help us with employees,” Mix said. “I looked at everything from studios to ski leases that sleep 20 people. Last season housing was such an issue that we put our heads together to come up with a plan… Finally, I called the owner [of Homewood Marina Lodge] myself, and we sealed the deal today.”
Homewood has a 60 percent return rate on employees, which Mix said is good for the ski business.
“We secured housing, which is a big one,” she added. Homewood also offered homeowners a free season pass if they would rent to employees, which is another benefit program new this year.
Several other area ski resorts are offering similar lift tickets for housing deals.
“If I came from overseas I would be ecstatic to move into a place like this,” Mix said. “[Homewood Marina Lodge] is able to keep renters all winter, we have something to help us solve housing problems, and the people that come here from overseas have an affordable place to stay. Everybody wins.”
Area job fairs
North Lake Tahoe Job Fair
Resorts and ski areas from around North Lake Tahoe and Donner Summit will be hosting a job fair to find employees for the 2000-2001 winter season. Whether your sights are set on lift operations, food preparation or ski education, there is a job for you in the mountains.
On Nov. 3, the North Lake Tahoe Job Fair will afford ski bum-hopefuls the chance to survey their employment prospects. The fair, which boasts booths from each of the ski areas, will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the North Lake Tahoe Community Conference Center in Kings Beach.
For more information, go to http://www.tahoe.com or call the Job Line at 546-LAKE.
Squaw Valley USA Job fair
Squaw Valley USA is hosting its annual job fair on Oct. 28, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Squaw Valley’s base village. Applicants are encouraged to bring resumes and/or a completed application form. Managers from every department will be on hand all day to interview prospective employees. Jobs could be offered on the spot. Employees will get ski passes. For more information or to request an employment application, call 581-7112, or visit http://www.squaw.com.
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