Food Service struggles with employee shortage

A Help Wanted sign in front of the Lake Street Track

Photo by Jackson Hassler

A Help Wanted sign in front of the Lake Street Track

A nationwide shortage of service workers has made OPRF’s food service department desperate to find workers to help distribute food to students. 

“We need part-time workers who are not eligible for benefits. These positions are difficult to fill,” said Roxana Sanders, assistant superintendent for human resources at OPRF. “All the service industry is struggling to hire and retain workers.”

Director of Food Services Micheline Piekarski said she has tried a number of ways to reach out to potential employees, including online job sites, putting up flyers around the school, and even campaigning for workers at Soldier Field.

“It’s very frustrating, no one is applying,” Piekarski said. Piekarski said the food service department is around 12 workers short.

“I go early to the Bears games, so a lot of concession workers are standing in line to check-in. I handed out flyers to all of them,” Piekarski said.

Jana Cannon, the food services secretary at OPRF, has tried similar methods. “I’ve passed out flyers at my church to try to get people to apply,” she said.

The staff shortage has led to more limited food options for students. “We cannot do some of the items we normally do such as the panini bar and the storefront,” Piekarski said.

Without applicants from adults in the community, Piekarski has turned to students for help.

“We have always had students working for us passing out food during the first 10-15 minutes of their lunch periods and we would put $4 into their account,” said Piekarski. “We are so desperate for staff this year we have three students who we are paying to work for us.” The new student workers work outside of the 15 minutes during lunch, and are paid separately from their OPRF Revtrak account.

If students are interested in working for food service, Piekarski says they can apply online at the OPRF Employment webpage.