President Trump is considering overhauling a program that provides 300,000 foreign visitors/year (primarily college students) with the opportunity to work temporarily in the United States. As part of his “Buy American and Hire American” campaign, Trump is evaluating several options including; the elimination of J-1 via program, imposing new requirements on program participants and/or requiring employers to prove they are unable to find Americans who want the temporary jobs. Ski resort operators are particularly concerned and have urged Trump administration officials to keep the program intact, as foreign students are estimated to fill 7,000 jobs during the December-March U.S. ski season.
Howie Long-Short: Ever ski/snowboard Hunter Mountain? Mount Snow? Jack Front? They are all owned by ski resort operator Peak Resorts (SKIS). SKIS recently announced revenues of $7.5 million for Q1 2018, a 6% YOY increase, during their slowest time of the year. The company also expressed optimism for the upcoming season, as sales of its “Peak Pass” is up 9% from this time last year.
Fan Marino: Don’t confuse the J-1 program for cheap labor. Ski resorts are required to pay the same salaries to foreign students that they would to U.S. citizens and in some cases, are required to invest in housing or meal plans for students studying abroad. If the resorts could hire local, they would.