Adams County braces for labor shortages in agriculture
by Jesse McCree
At PA CareerLink Adams County, the job agency in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, custodial worker and former welder Glenn Hendrickson was looking to change careers. Hendrickson was just beginning his search for a new line of work and he did not yet know what would pique his interest.
“I’ve had a lot of friends who have had summer jobs, like when they were in high school, picking fruit but I doubt anyone would make a career out of it,” he said.
According to local farm sector employers, most workers are paid well above Pennsylvania’s minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Crew chiefs and foremen on some orchards earn close to $19 per hour. Yet few native-born Americans are willing to do this work, even if unemployed says Alan Dudley, administrator of the Gettysburg CareerLink office.
“The work is difficult, especially in the fields, and it’s not necessarily unskilled work,” he said. “Orchard owners want skilled people to harvest apples so they get the best return on their crop.”