Business Buzz: Economic Development Partnership board to meet Wednesday
The Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership Board of Directors will host its quarterly boardroom meeting meeting from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, in room 175 at Colorado Northwestern Community College, 2801 West Ninth St. Meetings are open to the public.
Produce growers, farm advocates discuss labor shortage
Farmers and labor advocates came together last week in a round table discussion to consider a shortage of farm workers in the state.
Growers representing the Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association met with farmworker service providers and other advocates Oct. 10 — the opening day of the first-ever Colorado Agriculture and Farm Labor Summit — in Colorado Springs,
Growers said they are facing a dire shortage of qualified, willing agricultural workers, saying it is one of the most troubling challenges facing the produce industry today.
“The reality is that domestic workers don’t want these jobs,” said Bruce Talbott, owner of Talbott Mountain Gold in Palisade. “Picking fruits and vegetables in the middle of the summer is physically demanding and requires skill and willingness that few domestic workers have. Besides, there is little incentive for them to acquire seasonal work when they can get regular, full-time jobs.”
Attendees noted the cost in increased paperwork and time of complying with the H2A temporary worker program, which includes stringent and inconsistent requirements for housing and other services for temporary workers, as well as requirements that growers hire U.S. citizens for any openings before they look to foreign Visa holders.
CFVGA Executive Director Marilyn Bay Drake noted that educational and other services provided by farmworker advocates is good for workers but cautioned against making workers feel harassed, as some growers have reported.
The event was seen as positive, but more is needed to address the shortage and ensure conditions are right for everyone, the groups said.
“The roundtable was a good first step to see if we can find areas in which we can work together to solve the labor shortage for growers, provide fair employment opportunities for farm workers and work collaboratively with the services and regulatory agencies represented at this meeting,” said CFVGA founding board member Adrian Card, who helped organize the roundtable discussion.
Workforce focus of business workshop Oct. 25
“Not Your Mama’s Workforce” — a free Blend business workshop opportunity — is scheduled from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Wendesday, Oct. 25, at Clarion Inn & Suites, 300 S. Colorado Highway 13.
Kirstie McPherson, of the Colorado Workforce Center, will lead the session, which will outline services and programs offered by the institution. The Workforce Center can assist businesses in finding qualified candidates and offers training to build employees’ skill sets.
RSVPs are not required, and the event is offered free of charge.
Blend events are typically hosted at 4:30 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month by Colorado Northwestern Community College, Craig Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Workforce Center and Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership, in collaboration with the Clarion Inn & Suites.
For more information, call Desiree Moore at 970-824-1135.
Halloween spending expected to top $9.1 billion
With more than 179 million Americans planning to partake in Halloween festivities, up from 171 million in 2016, spending is expected to reach $9.1 billion, up from $8.4 billion in 2016, according to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation.
NRF has been conducting its annual Halloween survey since 2003 to see how Americans will celebrate the fright and delight of this beloved autumn holiday.
This year, they found that about seven in 10 plan to celebrate Halloween this year. They’re likely to do so by handing out candy, decorating and dressing up. Celebrants age 18 to 24 are significantly more likely to dress in costume and attend or host a party, while older generations are more likely to hand out candy.
Another survey by offers.com showed that, year after year, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups remain the favorite candy to receive, at 32 percent. Kit Kat and Twix take number two and three, at 19 percent and 18 percent, respectively. Seventeen percent prefer to be given M&M’s. Other favorites are Nerds (7 percent) and lollipops (7 percent).
The top costume for children is reported to be an action hero or superhero, while the top pick for adults is a witch. Pets will not be left behind, with 10 percent of consumers dressing their pet as a pumpkin.
Similar to last year, discount and specialty stores will be the top places for shoppers to visit. Home décor and home improvement stores have seen the largest gain from last year, both growing more than 20 percent since 2016.