Amusement parks ramping up for hiring blitz

Amusement parks fight for workers as hiring season begins

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Dorm living takes on new meaning as the push to recruit workers from Louisville gets serious and competitive.

From restaurants to retailers, as more businesses look to hire, housing construction has begun at Kings Island to sway workers to head to the Cincinnati area.

Kings Island Communications Director Chad Showalter told WAVE 3 News they are providing new housing for would-be hires for just $65 per week.

“Beginning in 2019, we’re able to provide them with that housing option that’s affordable,” he said.

Hundreds will be hired with 400 spaces available, to sleep two to four people. They are workers that could be hired at Kentucky Kingdom or at Holiday World.

In a time when it’s hard to fill jobs, all three parks say they will offer more than just a fun place to work.

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The new low-cost housing at Kings Island is known as One Team Village. The dorm for employees 18 and over on Kings Island property promises a recreation center with big screen TVs, a convenience store, free Wi-Fi and on-site laundry. Dorm residents must live outside the Cincinnati area in cities like Louisville.

“Because we’re hiring so many people, more than 5,000 positions available this year, we had to get creative on where that pool of associates is coming from,” Showalter said.

And as Kings Island pulls out all the stops to recruit those needed workers to the Cincinnati area, Kentucky Kingdom is offering incentives to keep them here at home.

“It’s here in the city of Louisville and why not do something positive for the city of Louisville,” Kentucky Kingdom Rides and Training Manager, Ramon Finch, said. “I think it’s all about the tactics to get those employees.”

Kentucky Kingdom has 1,400 jobs to fill for the park’s 30th anniversary season. Finch said many hires are being made and he likes his Bluegrass pitch.

“You get a free season pass, so on your days off you get to come in and get to enjoy the park, but we also do complimentary tickets for family and friends," Finch said. "And as a team member here you get the opportunity to get special discounts in the park on food and merchandise and we have special events for team members after work.”

Finch said their target worker is 16-years-old, but in recent years they’re also hiring workers with flexible summer hours like teachers, bus drivers and seniors.

Nearby Holiday World is also ready to hire.

“We kind of have an added challenge of when it comes time for seasonal hiring,” explained Holiday World Communications Director Paula Werne. “We are in a very rural location.”

With only about 2,400 people living in Santa Claus, Indiana, where the park is located, a few years ago Holiday World started offering a daily transportation program for employees as many of them live 40 to 45 miles away.

“We have a series of buses that we use to go to neighborhoods in Owensboro, Kentucky and over to Evansville, Indiana and up to Jasper,” Werne said.

The pay range for employees in positions like rides, food service and guest relations is similar at all three parks. Kings Island said that’s about $9.50 to $11.50 per hour, plus park benefits. All three parks are taking applications.

To see what each has to offer, visit their websites:

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