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Help Wanted

September 8, 1999, 12:00 AM

Good help is hard to find. In Sioux Falls unemployment is nearing a record low, making it hard for businesses to find any help at all. Employers are trying just about everything to attract workers. KELO-LAND's John Bachman is Live on Minnesota avenue where help wanted signs are lining the streets. Car washes, retail stores, and restaurants, are all suffering through the worker shortage. But one restaurant is trying something that's hard to resist. Sioux Falls streets are getting busier, and the skyline is getting bigger. As more businesses pop up, and more people pull up to the drive-thru, places like Dairy Queen can't keep enough help behind the counter. The ice cream shop lost 15 kids to college. That's why it's now offering a 1,000 dollar hiring bonus. Jill Willard, the Dairy Queen Manager says, "There's some people out there that think they can fill out an application and we'll hand them a thousand dollars." Actually the incentive goes like this. Employees who work 20 hours a week will get 250 dollars every three months. Even the 1,000 dollar hiring bonus isn't getting enough help. They've had four people sign up for the bonus, and then not show up for work. The bonus brought in Angel Harmon and Shiel Cournoyer. "But see it didn't work right... it should've..." These new hires are learning to run the register. "Yesterday was my first day and they just kind of throw you in there and you follow someone around and you catch on pretty quick," Harmon says. Dairy Queen is also serving up 200 dollars to any employee who refers a future hire. But they're still coming up short of help. At 1.3 percent, Sioux Falls unemployment is three times lower than the national average. Skilled labor positions, like carpenters and mechanics, are in big demand. Also, customer service and computer jobs.

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