Dining Services Unable to Fill Open Positions Quickly

Sarah Manderbach '22, Opinion Editor

Dining Services at Dickinson College are struggling to fill their open non-student work positions due to both the pandemic and other issues that have emerged this semester. 

Since returning to campus this fall, Dining Services has found themselves in a labor shortage, resulting in change in hours of dining locations as well as food shortages.

Errol Huffman, Director of Dining Services, says that there are currently 48 non-student-employee vacancies, and that this number “is higher than previous years.” Huffman does not have an exact count of student position vacancies due to “numerous shifts that are unfilled or left vacant by call-offs.”

Huffman says that the high rise in position vacancies comes from a combination of issues. “Time away from the workplace led many people in the hospitality field to go back to school or seek a future in different careers, particularly those careers with remote-work options. There are also many who do not wish to work where they perceive risk of contracting COVID and others who do not wish to wear a mask while working or balk at vaccinations.”

In an attempt to  lower the number of open positions, Dining Services is working with Human Resource Services to advertise current positions. “There is outreach to local, unemployed refugee communities and we are using temporary employee agencies” Huffman stated. Dining Services has also reached out to guest volunteers from across the college that are not employed in dining.

As high as these vacancy numbers are, Huffman does not expect to fill these positions quickly, as the labor market is “very challenging” at this time. “The phenomena is evident coast to coast in all industries and is being experienced by our temporary employee agencies and other local colleges and universities.”

“Taking on a part-time job with Dining Services can offset many of the challenges created by position vacancies and can ensure continuity of space, well-maintained spaces, and improved speed of service,” Huffman says to students who may be concerned about the number of openings in Dining Services. “Kindness, grace, and patience go a long way in sporting those who work so hard to keep the operations going each and every day.”