“Help Wanted” signs are springing up, and staying up, around the Upper Peninsula.
Industries across the entire U.P. are struggling to find employees. Even with four universities in the Upper Peninsula, three public and one private, employers are struggling to fill the positions necessary to function.
“There is a severe worker shortage and skill shortage throughout the region, state, and country right now,” states U.P. Michigan Works! Business Services Manager Holly Peoples. “From the very extreme end of employers cutting their hours, or even closing, then we see some employers reacting to that and adjusting. Perhaps increasing some wages, putting on some signing bonuses, maybe offering some training to their management and supervisors.” Peoples continued by saying it’s important to ask, “How can we better equip our employers to retain the workers that they have, and what are some of the strategies we can use across the U.P.?
Peoples cited population loss, unemployment benefit enhancement, career changes, and lack of childcare resources as reasons for the shortages.
Invest UP CEO Marty Fittante made similar points. Saying much of the shortage has to do with population loss and talent retention throughout the region.
“There’s certainly been a migration towards more urban cores.” Fittante added that many rural areas are experiencing this same problem. “We’ve got some great assets in the Upper Peninsula, so we need to do a better job of ensuring that students are anchored here when they complete their studies.”