Yampa Valley Regional Airport is feeling the pinch of a labor shortage in Northwest Colorado.
With just more than a month until winter airline service - and ski season tourism - begins, YVRA officials and the businesses that provide services at the airport are trying to fill a number of open positions. Because extensive advertising has done little to fill all the gaps, the airport is hosting a job fair from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Airport Administration Building.
YVRA terminal manager Ann Copeland has worked at the airport for 20 years, and she said it has never been this difficult to find good employees.
"Last year was a little difficult, but definitely this year we're dealing with it more than we have before," Copeland said. "To get employees in this area is not easy."
The staffing demands at the airport will be greater this year, Copeland said, primarily because of terminal and parking apron expansions. There also are a record number of plane seats available to accommodate what is forecaste to be a busy ski season.
Copeland said it has been difficult to find workers because the airport has to compete with the other employers in the area. The Colorado Workforce Center in Steamboat Springs is advertising 112 jobs. The Craig center is advertising 196 jobs.
Routt County, which owns YVRA, has about 18 positions available at the airport. Most of the positions are seasonal and include maintenance equipment operators, passenger service representatives and janitors. The county pays janitors $12.56 an hour. A passenger service representative is paid $5.76 an hour but also receives tips.
The airlines are hiring agents and ramp service clerks. Storm Mountain Express and Alpine Taxi are looking for drivers. Spectrum Jet Center needs people to service the planes, and the car rental companies need agents and detailers. Restaurant, tavern and gift shop positions also are available.
"It's a fun place to work," Copeland said. "There is always stuff going on."