Dells can't attract enough foreign workers to fill jobs

Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2005 12:55 PM | Contributed by supermandl

Wisconsin Dells businesses that rely on seasonal help have reported trouble this year in filling those slots. Some say it's due to a shortage of visas for foreign workers. Businesses in the Dells also say the number of foreign workers has come up short, but they blame U.S. currency, not the nation's visa program.

Read more from WMTV/Madison.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005 3:06 PM
Cedar Point is stealing all of the Foreign Workers. :)
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Wednesday, March 30, 2005 3:33 PM
Does anyone in that area offer housing?
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Wednesday, March 30, 2005 4:40 PM
I just read an article a few days ago (can't remember where) about how a big, historic hotel on Macinac (sp?) Island, MI was opening two months early to get foreign workers in early before the tourist season to get around the Visa shortage issues.

They opened March 1 (they normally didn't open to May), and said that bookings have been a lot stronger than expected. The GM said they predict they'll break even during the early opening, and may even make a small profit.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005 5:26 PM
If CP and VF are stealing all of the foreign workers, that's fine with me. ;-)

Hey, I live in the Twin Cities, and I occaisionally hear about the Dells, but it seems like people like VF more.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005 5:48 PM
No park is "stealing" from anyone.....there are two main reasons the J1 visa program is struggling....and it is a major issue for all parks that use international students for staff...

1. The very weak dollar;

2. After September 11th, INS, which became USCIS (under Homeland Security), as a knee jerk reaction, decided to prohibit "final" year students (seniors) from participating in the J1 visa program. The problem is that over 40% of the J1 participants were final year students, hence the drastic drop in numbers.

If you want to blame anyone, point the finger at Osama.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005 6:30 PM
Jeff's avatar ...or the legislators who made the knee-jerk reaction.
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Wednesday, March 30, 2005 7:15 PM
...yea, you wouldn't want to blame Osama when you can blame crazy Americans.
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Wednesday, March 30, 2005 7:19 PM
I went to Orlando last week and could not believe the number of Europeans visiting. Talked to a nice couple from England who loved the weak dollar that allowed them to visit.

It seems that Dell's may actually be able to benefit from a weak dollar if their offerings and attractions are in demand. The weak dollar certainly is helping Disney and Universal put bodies in the parks.

There are positives and negatives to the current valuations...

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005 9:43 PM
Mamoosh's avatar The weak dollar is great for those who want to travel...bad for those who want to make some money.
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Thursday, March 31, 2005 9:31 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the Wisconsin Dells attracts very many foreign tourists. Other Northern resort areas may attract more Canadian tourists since the cost of $US has dropped from $1.50 CDN to $1.20 CDN in the last year. But the Dells aren't near any major Canadian cities. The weak US dollar's only effect for the Dells will likely be that foreign labour is a bit more expensive this year.
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Thursday, March 31, 2005 10:19 AM
I think you are correct greatwhite... Looks like Dells may need to change their business model or decrease profit margins for the time being...

P.S. Based upon my experiences at Dells, this should not be difficult. It is not as if they overstaff their amusements.

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Thursday, March 31, 2005 12:09 PM
Jeff's avatar Still, it's not the foreign tourists that they need to spend money, it's the foreign workers to make money. Those greenbacks just aren't that valuable when they take them home.
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Thursday, March 31, 2005 4:30 PM
Chicken or egg argument in my opinion... Obviously, a smart business plan to take advantage of the weak dollar could lead to increased foreign tourism dollars which they can use to increase wages. This may involve short term debt financing, etc. I can see how this scenerio may suck short term.

Rather than whine about the negatives, it might be more productive to figure out a business plan to make this work. Maybe Dells are not capable of taking advantage of current market trends as the Orlando parks seem to be doing. I know if I ran a business up there, I'd try to find a way to be like those Orlando parks who have much higher attendance than what was there back in the days of the strong dollar.

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Thursday, March 31, 2005 4:45 PM
Gee, looks like parks are gonna have to start offerning a competitive wage.

Nobodys gonna go for minnimum wage when McDonalds pays 8 bucks a hour.

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Thursday, March 31, 2005 7:22 PM
Still, it's not the foreign tourists that they need to spend money, it's the foreign workers to make money. Those greenbacks just aren't that valuable when they take them home.

This is the exactly point that I think folks are not getting......even if you pay an international worker from the UK $8 (USD) an hour, with the horrible exchange rate, it only equates to about 4 pounds (British)....which has approx. the same buying power as $4 USD. So an international worker is basically making $4 USD an hour...

International workers from the UK basically have to spend what they make while they are in the US to make it worth their while.....which defeats the whole purpose of making $$ in the US and saving some for the upcoming year.

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Thursday, March 31, 2005 10:40 PM
I know if I ran a business up there, I'd try to find a way to be like those Orlando parks who have much higher attendance than what was there back in the days of the strong dollar.

How? Wisconsin Dells does not have an International Airport nearby like the Orlando parks do. Wisconsin Dells is a regional attraction. The Orlando parks are not

-Nate*** This post was edited by coasterdude318 3/31/2005 10:41:29 PM ***

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Thursday, March 31, 2005 11:32 PM
I understand that it costs more to pay international workers with a weak dollar. I also understand that a weak dollar is GOOD for international tourism business in the USA. It is this second point that I suspect some may be missing. I think a good business plan would allow for increased profits from increased international tourism to pay for the increased wages. Maybe this is not possible as coasterdude implies. Maybe Dells is poor suited to take advantage of current market trends.

I would think it would be in the Dell's best interest to solve their business model woes to compete in today's conditions. I see this "whining about the weak dollar" argument much like the old Six Flags blame the weather excuses. Other parks found ways to succeed in the same weather conditions as Six Flags just as many of today's parks are actually benefiting from the weak dollar. If Dell's is totally dependent on a domestic customer base and a foreign labor supply, then they might be screwed. Seems like a stupid business plan to me.

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Monday, September 14, 2015 3:19 PM

Interesting to wake this thread up from the dead (over 10 years ago), but it is important to point out that the J-1 Work and Travel (WAT) Visa program is still a very key program for several parks & attractions, mostly in regions where local labor pools are very limited. It's also important to parks/attractions open during traditional "shoulder" seasons when American schools are typically in session.

Over the past several years, with immigration reform front and center with many of our elected members in DC, the future of the J-1 program is more uncertain than ever, especially depending on who gets elected as our next president in 2016. For some reason, the J-1 program is being lumped into immigration reform, and if you understand the "public diplomacy" nature and goals of the J-1 WAT program, it has absolutely nothing to do with comprehensive immigration reform.

It will be interesting to follow this front as several parks/attractions (some household names in the coaster buzz community) would be crippled from a staffing perspective if the program gets killed. IAAPA (and some other trade groups) are focusing lobbying efforts in DC to educate our elected officials about the facts regarding the J-1 WAT program, and dispel the many mis-understandings and fallacies being circulated (mostly by labor unions).

If you are into what makes the industry tick, this is just one interesting dynamic that many lay people don't understand its' importance in keeping many rides spinning, food cooking, and beds being made in more areas within hospitality than one would realize.

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Monday, September 14, 2015 3:56 PM
matt.'s avatar

Posts from Moosh and others had me like whatyearisit.jpg

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