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Okaloosa Summer Jobs

Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the summer tourist season. That means employers are looking to hire for seasonal positions, and workers are looking to fill them.

Hotels, restaurants, bars and resorts around the area hiring extra staff to handle increased business during the summer. Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, one of the largest seasonal employers in the area, will hire over 400 employees.
Sara Becnel said "We just gauge it off of the year before. We know how busy we're going to be in the summer, we know what our hours of operation are, and we know how many people we need to have in the store during those hours."

Becnel is the retail director for Sandestin. She says the resort hires as many locals as they can to fill summer positisons.

According to the Department of Labor, Walton and Okaloosa Counties have some of the lowest unemployment rates in the state. But, with so many jobs and so few workers from the area, they have to frequently hire from other parts of the country, and the world.

"...We do anything we can to try and find people from outside of this immediate area to employ for the summer season, because there's just simply not enough people here to give us the amount of workers that we need," said Becnel. 

They're not alone. The Destin Commons held a job fair which featured seasonal jobs, and say many stores are still working to fill those spots. Maggie Hadley has come down from Indiana to work over the summer.

"I've definitely heard about how Memorial Day and Fourth of July, how crazy those are going to be, but crazy in a good way, " said Becnel.

But she says what many other seasonal employees say about their favorite opportunity the area offers.

"I went straight to the beach. That's my plan for most of the days off," said Hadley. 

With seasonal positions being filled by folks from all over the globe, it's clear the Panhandle has become not just a destination for tourists, but for those who want a chance to work near the beach.