In The Mail

Thursday, May 21, 2020

High school kids help support summer economy; jobs teach skills


Livingston is a summer paradise for both locals and tourists. After eight months of winter, we get to enjoy the full glory of long summer days, but for local businesses summer can be a struggle due to lack of employees.

The reason I write this letter is to encourage our high school students to get out and make money during the summer months. Every business that depends on tourist dollars is fighting for employees. Park High graduated over 100 students last year with a total enrollment of over 400.

Like many restaurant owners in Park County, we have experience with the annual summer staffing challenge. We have also seen many success stories of local kids who started with us, only to watch their careers blossom. Working in a restaurant is a great entry level job for young people. We teach our employees valuable skills, like how to manage schedules, how to build rapport with fellow employees, customer service, work ethic, navigating government paperwork and the importance of a paycheck.

Every year my family is fortunate to visit the resort town of Gulf Shores, Alabama. This town has a winter population of 5,000, which swells to 500,000 during the summer. In Gulf Shores we have talked with many small business owners to discover the booming summer economy is dependent on high school students working. Working a summer job is simply part of the culture. Gulf Shores would never have become a summer tourist destination without the support and hard work of local high school kids.

With the growth of our hospitality industry in Park County (new hotels and restaurants), we need all hands on deck. With the help of our youth, we can make our town the prototype of success in Montana.

Burke and Melissa Moran