Help Really, Really Wanted

“A perfect storm” is a popular metaphor to describe the collision of multiple factors that result in a catastrophic event. So, imagine how seriously we need to take America’s current labor crisis when labor economist Ron Hetrick characterizes it not as a perfect storm, but as the cataclysmic combination of a hurricane, earthquake and tornado! If you’ve been dismissing today’s labor shortages as a short-term crisis linked solely to a significant number of workers taking advantage of pandemic disruptions and living on government support, consider this a sobering wake-up call.

Hetrick was a keynote speaker at SNA’s 2022 School Nutrition Industry Conference (SNIC) in January, sharing population, immigration and workforce data that makes a compelling case for an approaching “sansdemic” (no, that’s not a typo: sans = without; demic = people) that will transform the labor market—for the rest of our lives. In his presentation, “The Demographic Drought,” and an additional interview with School Nutrition, Hetrick explains how we got here, how COVID accelerated the timing of an inevitable situation, what to expect in the years to come and suggestions for fresh tactics school nutrition employers should begin to adopt now...

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