Want a summer job on Mackinac Island? Here’s how to apply – MLive.com

Mackinac Island's waterfront restaurant scene. Photo provided by Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau.
MACKINAC ISLAND, MI – In just a few short months, Mackinac Island’s downtown will be bustling with visitors. The ferry boats delivering them to the docks will be crisscrossing the Straits of Mackinac on busy schedules. The smell of fudge being poured out on marble tables will waft down Main Street. But before all that vacation magic can begin, thousands of workers have to be put in place.
It’s hiring time for the island’s long 2022 season. Resorts, downtown hotels, fudge shops, retail stores, bike rentals and horse-drawn carriage tours all are in search of new or returning employees who want to call Mackinac home for at least a few months this year.
For workers, it’s all about the lifestyle perks in this beautiful spot, especially for those who want to find a job in the hospitality industry, said Tim Hygh, executive director of the island’s Tourism Bureau. “You can get this type of job anywhere. But why would you, when you can do it on Mackinac Island?”
Here’s how to get started:
Hotel and restaurant jobs make up a big chunk of the help-wanted list. But there are also outdoor positions as kayak tour guides, ferry staff, lifeguards and golf course employees. Or unique jobs like the island’s famous dockporters.
Dockporter Archie Horn in front of the Chippewa Hotel.
This year, about 5,000 workers are needed to make all areas of the island run smoothly. About 1,000 of those are typically jobs supported by the United States’ H-2B visa program, which allows international workers to come here for temporary employment.
Most of the island jobs run anywhere from April through the end of October, though shorter work windows are available to accommodate student workers and others who are looking for summer-only employment. The last few years have also seen a spike in the number of retirees landing island jobs.
Mission Point Resort, which sprawls along the island’s “sunrise side” and is bisected by the popular M-185 perimeter road, is among the businesses hiring for the new season. Staff here have put together a Careers page on their website for prospective employees, and are looking to fill jobs that range from a bicycle mechanic to coffee shop managers and even a leader for their fine-dining restaurant, Chianti. Their recruitment video highlights the island experiences of their diverse staff.
“Mackinac Island is a great place to visit and an amazing place to work for the summer. We hear over and over again from former employees that their time at Mission Point was the job of a lifetime,” said Liz Ware, vice president of sales and marketing at Mission Point. “They learned so much, met people from all over the world and had extraordinary Mackinac Island experiences. Our goal is to be one of the top employers in the state of Michigan and in 2021, we were honored to be named as one of Best and Brightest Companies to Work for in the Nation. The value we place on our employees through housing, dining, activities, inclusiveness, engagement and community involvement is unmatched.”
The resort's Great Lawn hugs the Straits of Mackinac. It's designed as a great place to play, relax and watch the freighters while catching a sunset.
Other island business owners echo what a unique experience working on the island provides to seasonal employees.
Micah Paldino, who owns Threads of Mackinac apparel store, likes to explain to new hires how to balance the busy pace with the outdoor beauty. Busy might be an understatement during the island’s peak tourism time, when more than one million visitors typically arrive to bike, eat, shop and explore.
“Beyond bustling Main Street is one of the most stunning and preserved state parks with beautiful cliffside views of Lake Huron. Whenever I get a second out of the store, you’ll find me lacing up my hiking boots and making the trek up Fort Hill and taking time to decompress and enjoy Mackinac,” Paldino said. “We really want to hire individuals who see this beauty.”
A shared love for the island becomes a bond for many of the seasonal workers. “The tight-knit community is one of the reasons why so many seasonal employees come back year after year. Lifelong friendships are formed on the island and you’ll really have such a great summer full of laughs, celebrations, and camaraderie.”
This year, the island tourism bureau is one of the sponsors for the upcoming Tourism & Hospitality Career Day presented by Pure Michigan and organized by MLive Media Group, MLive’s advertising and marketing arm. The virtual event gives job seekers at look at opportunities within Michigan’s travel and tourism industries. Participants can upload their resume, get their questions answered and even do one-on-one video chats with recruiters.
The event is planned for March 24 from noon to 2:30 p.m. You can register for the event here
Heading to Mackinac Island this summer? Read more here:
Mackinac Island’s Mission Point creates new event space with knockout waterfront view
How Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel pool got a $10M makeover, but kept its Old Hollywood style
Is Lover’s Leap the most bittersweet spot on Mackinac Island? Maybe not
Another Mackinac Island hotel sold to private equity firm that bought Grand Hotel
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