Earlier today I saw the following meme/comment on a popular Great Falls public Facebook page, Remember Great Falls When…
What I found particularly interesting were the comments posted by local citizens and employers. You can click here to see all of the comments, but I’ve copied a few excerpts here that are very revealing and highlight a few of our major challenges in Great Falls.
Michael – “Unemployment in Great Falls is at 4%. I own a local business and I can’t find any qualified people to work for us. We have to look out of state. There’s not enough workers, especially skilled workers in Great Falls for the jobs that are required. We’ve had companies look at Great Falls and after looking at the lower unemployment and the skill level they back out.”
Todd – “Good, skilled employees with work ethic are so hard to recruit locally. Makes it very difficult to operate a business in Great Falls.”
Lori – “The wages are unrealistic and insulting here for the cost of living and prices of EVERYTHING. My skills and work ethics are EXEMPLARY but the jobs & realistic wages are not here for me. GF is letting me down.”
Ken – “…it is the low waves paid by people knowing that workers will take much less just to have access to Montana’s outdoors and recreation opportunities. How many tourists have you met that moved here expecting to find cheap land and the ability to ‘live’ off of it on the cheap?
I have met hundreds. The woman gets a job in town and the guy builds canoes, or works at a ski area in exchange for a season pass or just hunts and fishes. While attempting to qualify for SSI Disability.”
Robert – “Retired military can live on minimum wage jobs that’s one reason businesses in Great Falls offer poor wages quality people require about twice minimum wage…”
Keith – “I reluctantly left Great Falls specifically because of the lack of work.
I stayed a lot longer than I should have and lived lean for way too long.
All these many years later I am plotting my return (to Montana, not necessarily Great Falls) within a year and a half & I can’t wait to get back home in Montana where I belong.”
Nikki – “You can drive down 10th n see tons of help wanted signs.. but after applications r in they never call.. I have had 4 different kids putting in apps n never a call back.. they have to start somewhere not everyone can be college educated.. I have 2 kids (young adults now)that are work horses.. will do anything for anyone.. can only find part time jobs.. they have all pounded the pavement.. they r off the couch n games n TVs.. where r these jobs that really hire?”
Mary – “…We left Great Falls and then came back and the company I was working for closed up, I went to work for another company and they closed up, my husband worked for a company that closed up, my son owns a Carlot they closed up, our friends owned car lots that closed up, my son-in-law works for batteries warehouse and they closed up, we have many, many, many friends that moved over to Spokane area to get work and have good lives!
We got good jobs here because we weren’t lazy enough to just sit around to try to make ends meet in Great Falls. We got good jobs that were lasting and didn’t close their doors and we were able to retire from those jobs. My children still work at the good jobs here in our area.
We are from Great Falls Montana and didn’t want to have to leave, but we had no choice, it was either live on minimum wage at McDonald’s or get off our asses and find a job in another state and that’s what we did!
Great Falls is a military retirement city, there’s nothing for young people to do there. I go there and I feel depressed because of all the gambling and everyone sit in the bar’s drinking Free beer/wine and Gambling in the bars all day, I can’t wait to get home. But I have family and friends there that I want to go and visit so we still visit once a year for a couple of days.
Great Falls used to be a blooming beautiful city and then I was proud to live in, it’s a dying old town now that needs the military to keep it going.
I’m glad that I’m from there, but None of us that we moved over here would ever want to go back and live there again.”
You get the idea. For too many years our so-called leadership here has focused on making sure we have a thriving poverty industry and little else. What did we think was going to happen?