Wildwood boardwalk businesses ready for summer but seeking more workers
Morey’s Pier in Wildwood is now open for its first weekend of the summer season.
The rides and the food on the boardwalk are ready to go, but will Morey’s Pier and other boardwalk businesses have the help they need with most of the tourists returning in full this summer?
“We’re hiring ride operators, lifeguards, food and beverage, games, retail, parking,” says Denise Beckson, vice president of Morey’s Pier.
The amusement park typically hires about 1,500 seasonal workers. One-third of them are J-1 Visa students from other countries.
A delayed start to the program last summer meant that less students were able to get visas in time to work, but Morey’s officials say they are ready this year.
"We have lots of interest, and we have lots of students getting their visas. In terms of the conflict in Eastern Europe between Ukraine and Russia, that will have an impact on those countries, but we're not seeing it spread to neighboring areas. So, we're hopeful to have more students than we've had over the last two years,” says Beckson.
It is not just Morey’s that is hiring. “Help wanted” signs were seen all over the boardwalk in Wildwood, but the applications have been slow to come in.
Both Morey's Piers and shops along the boardwalk say one of the biggest issues they're running into is the lack of seasonal housing available for these workers to rent.
“It’s getting more and more expensive because everybody’s putting their house on Airbnb,” says Baruch Cohen, owner of Wildwood Gifts.
"Places that were traditionally used for seasonal housing are no longer available so that is the next challenge for the summer and on the horizon - how do we combat that,” says Beckson.
Morey’s says they've upped their pay and even offered part time employment in an effort to increase employment.