Valleyfair food workers getting a pay raise for 2021 season

The starting wage will increase from $11.25 an hour to $15 an hour.
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Valleyfair is raising the starting pay for some of its workers this season. 

The Shakopee amusement park, which was closed for the entire 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, shared in a news release Wednesday it will increase the starting wage for food and beverage workers who are 16 and older to $15 an hour, up from $11.25 an hour in 2019. 

This comes as the park is struggling to hire enough staff before it reopens in a few weeks. Less than a month ago, Valleyfair said on Twitter it was boosting wages for food and beverage workers to $13.50 an hour. 

And on Wednesday it said it still needs to hire 300 food and beverage workers, as well as fill other open positions.

The park will host an in-person, socially distanced hiring event at noon on May 16. Those interested in working at Valleyfair this summer must apply online before the hiring event. 

The Star Tribune spoke with Valleyfair HR director Melissa Lutz, who said they're contending with the pandemic and parents worried about their kids taking a job, and noted because of COVID-19 the amusement park won't be bringing in hundreds of international students to work as it does every other year. 

Lutz also told the paper the location in the southwest metro is "difficult to recruit from," noting people are nervous about taking a job on the other side of the Minnesota River and that the area lacks easy public transit. 

The news Valleyfair is raising wages for food and beverage workers comes two years after it gave a pay raise to ride operators for the 2019 season. It struggled to hire enough staff then, too.

Valleyfair will reopen on May 22 for its 45th season (even though it skipped season 44) with a limited capacity and new reservation requirement (no more buying tickets at the gate), as well as other health and safety changes. It has also launched a bunch of new foods for this season

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