- Associated Press - Sunday, May 7, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The University of Minnesota’s landcare department is about 50 people short as it begins work for the spring.

The team has seen less interest from student workers over the last three years, forcing its staff count to stay around 95, the Minnesota Daily (https://bit.ly/2pIAjIU) reported.

Former landcare director Lester Potts retired Monday after a 40-year tenure with the department. Potts said the worker shortage causes problems mostly shown in mowing duties.

“It’ll be a struggle to keep up there,” he said. “Not having enough people to man the mowers …. it really throws a wrench into things.”

The division is responsible for mowing lawns, pulling weeds, trimming shrubs and cleaning litter.

The department hopes to hire a workforce of roughly 100 students, but Potts says students are less interested in blue-collar jobs.

“A lot of people are laying it on millennials,” he said. “Their desires are different.”

Supervisor Doug Lauer said that hiring efforts start in March but don’t finish until the end of May.

“We are usually just skimming by to meet our needs,” he said. “The gardeners that we have on staff, a lot of time will work overtime in spring.”

Potts said the university’s best scenario for the department is finding a freshman who’s willing to stick with them until they graduate.

According to the former director, many colleges’ landcare departments are moving away from a student workforce.

“It’s not a reliable workforce. The turnover is high. You invest a lot in training and educating people,” Potts said.


Information from: The Minnesota Daily, https://www.mndaily.com/

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