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Lakeshore business owners struggle to hire seasonal workers

The Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce says its members are facing a tough hurdle meeting the workforce needs.

HOLLAND, Mich — Nationwide, businesses and restaurants are struggling to find seasonal workers for the summer.

This is especially true for beach towns and places near the lakeshore, including right here at home. 

Tourist traffic is starting to pick up in many places like Holland and Zeeland, but the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce says its members are facing a tough hurdle meeting the workforce needs — a challenge that they haven’t seen in many years.

Despite the unemployment rate in Michigan continuing to decline, hundreds of thousands of people are still without work. So why is it so difficult for employers to find people to hire?

According to Jane Clark, president of the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce, there are several factors at play.

She says even though COVID restrictions are getting rolled back, many Michiganders still have health and safety concerns. Plus, parents' schedules continue to get disrupted with changes at schools, and some are having trouble finding childcare.

Business owners have turned to incentives to entice new employees for the summer.

“They have to be very creative these days and so that may be signing bonuses, recruit friend campaigns, looking for employees in different places, and it may even be adjusting their hours so they can balance their business needs with workforce availability," said Clark. 

The good news is millions of people have already been vaccinated and more continue to be every day.

Clark is optimistic that it’s going to be a great summer for businesses economically that are still trying to crawl out from under the pandemic.

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