With Student Worker Shortages, Michigan State University Asks Faculty, Staff to Volunteer in Dining Halls

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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityMichigan State University (MSU) is short thousands of student workers in campus dining halls, which led the institution to ask faculty and staff to help without offering them extra pay.

"As you know, like other schools and universities across the country, Culinary Services is experiencing severe staffing shortages," wrote Vennie Gore, senior vice president for residential and hospital services and auxiliary enterprises at MSU in an email sent to the institution's deans. "Many businesses in the local area and around the country are hiring, and we are all competing for the same available talent."

Gore's email invited faculty and staff to volunteer in the dining halls to address this need. MSU's residential and hospital services had previously also asked its full-time department employees to work eight hours a week in the dining hall. In addition, MSU had cut dinner and weekend hours in dining halls at some residences to make up for minimal staffing.

According to the Lansing State Journal, about 4,000 students typically work in MSU's dining halls during the year. Yet as of this September 30, just 1,200 were employed. For many at MSU, the shortage has raised questions about whether the benefits and pay offered to students can compete with local businesses. MSU's starting wages were recently raised to $12 to $15 per hour compared to $10 to $12 per hour.

In recent weeks, MSU said that their student worker shortage has been slowly improving. Still, the numbers are not where they once were before the nation faced an ongoing labor deficit.