SUMMIT COUNTY - At Napa Auto Parts in Frisco, owner Gary Ellinger and his staff are in the business of getting stuff fixed.
The only problem is his staffing situation; that’s just down right broken.
Ellinger says in his 35 years in Summit County, this year has been the hardest to find employees.
“It’s grim,” Ellinger said.
He’s hiring full and part-time positions, which for the first time ever, includes part-time positions for drivers. Ellinger says he normally has seven drivers, but is down to just one right now.
“We are all pitching in driving,” Ellinger said.
Napa isn’t alone. Jessica Valand with the Colorado Workforce Center’s Northwest region says their Frisco office just held a job fair. Thirty-three businesses took part, but only about 100 people showed up.
“You can see the math on that. We have some challenges for sure,” Valand said.
One problem for companies (if you can call it that) is the unemployment rate in resort communities like Summit County is at a historic low.
It's currently sitting between 2 and 3 percent.
“They call that full employment and it is a unique challenge for employers for staffing,” Valand said.
The other problem is that housing is just too expensive in places like Summit County. Ask Ricky Edwards.
"I got just got hired as a part-time ski instructor for beginners,” Edwards said.
He's got the job, but decided he can’t afford a place to live. His solution is to stay the season in his camper.
“If you can’t afford $800 a month for a room, the next solution is your car or an RV. The biggest problem is where to I park at night,” Edwards said.
A good solution for Edwards, but not for everyone.
Ellinger says when it comes to the parts of hiring that are most broken in Summit County, affordable housing is key.
“Housing is the number one priority,” Ellinger said.
If you’re looking for work, typically calling the Colorado Workforce Center in the area you’re looking for a job is a good first step.
They can often help line up work along with options for housing and or better pay and benefits that might make that move more affordable.
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