Upcoming school year to deplete summer workforce

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - This summer, many students worked to earn money, which in turn helped some local businesses recover from Hurricane Michael.

Local business managers say this is a difficult time of year. Managers say they will lose teens with summer jobs now that school is starting back up. (WJHG/WECP)

School will soon be back in session, leaving the summer workforce a bit depleted.

"Our work schedules are totally dependent upon the school calendar schedule," said Shipwreck Island Waterpark General Manager Buddy Wilkes.

That's because high school students make up a big chunk of their workforce. Wilkes said they hire around 300 teens every year.

"We have about 120 kids working here today and we couldn't do that once school starts," said Wilkes.

International students working at local businesses like Cobra Adventure Park have to go back to school as well.

"They tend to return, they tend to return back to their place of home about this time of year. It changes a lot," said Cobra Adventure Park Manager Robert Martin.

However, these businesses find ways to get by.

"The staff that we do have we have to divide the hours," said Martin. "Who's gonna work which shift? What hours do we actually have available?"

Wilkes says they adjust their operating hours so they can only be open on weekends then after Labor Day weekend they close the park down until the next April.

"When we lose that group of kids and we try to replace them with as many as we can. We will re-train group kids and have second hiring just to get us through the end of the summer," said Wilkes.

Some local businesses say some students do stay on while still going to school.

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