Workers pick Sauvignon Blanc grapes at a vineyard in Oakville, Calif., Friday, Aug. 22, 2008. California winemakers are bringing in the grape harvest this month after a challenging year that started with unusual frosts and moved on to smoky summer wildfires. So far, industry observers say it looks like the crop will be lighter than usual but the fruit that is coming in is good.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Any business owner will tell you it's hard to operate without any employees and with a growing concern of worker shortages in the Grand Valley some businesses are looking elsewhere for employees.
That is where Reinghart Raulez comes in to play. Raulez works to help support a wife and two sons who live in Mexico. He says working here gives him the opportunity to make a better wage than in his native country. His plans include buying a home for his family and its workers like him that local businesses are looking to hire.
Bruce Talbott of Talbott farms says, "We are entirely dependent on this workforce."
Today members of the business community talked about how to hire these much needed workers. Julie Susemihl with May's Concrete says, "Like every other employer in town we want those that will stay with the company and be good for us."
Now a growing concern over a lack of qualified workers has employers exploring their options. One of those being guest workers, an option attorney Sandra Stanley says takes time and planning. "It requires careful planning and forethought and serious consideration," says Stanley.
Bruce Talbott of Talbott Farms says he wouldn't be able to harvest without his guest workers. "Our field help is almost entirely from Mexico and south of the Border."
Before workers can be hired they are required to get the right visas, but they can only stay for a short period of time.
Susemihl says, "We still struggle with getting employees especially those with some skills."