8 MAY 2017 • FOGHORN FOGHORNFOCUS: HUMAN RESOURCES Investing in employees through housing helps decrease employee stress, and as we all know, happier employees are productive employees. This type of investment is a direct investment in the community, and can be used for positive community relations, outreach, and overall wellness. Plus, the difference between the average market rent and employee rent can be written off as a cost to help ease the employer’s financial burden. Put-in-Bay, Ohio is a small resort island in Lake Erie’s Western Basin. According to Realtor.com, the average closing price for a home in Put-in-Bay, Ohio was $295,000 compared to $185,000 for Ottawa County and $124,000 for Ohio. According to Home Town Locator, which uses U.S. Census data, as of July, 2016, Put-in-Bay Township has a median household income of $59,490.00, $53,080 for Ottawa About the Author Jacob “Jake” Market is a 6th generation islander of Put-in-Bay, Ohio, and third generation of his family’s business, Miller Boat Line. He is a licensed captain, and is currently pursuing an MBA with a Human Resources concentration. Jake is passionate about the passenger vessel and tourism industries, and hopes to learn from the various conversations taking place in PVA. County, and $49,674 for the State of Ohio. While income is up for Put-in- Bay over the county and state, it is only a 12 percent increase over Ottawa County, and 19.76 percent over the state while average home closing costs were 59.5 percent higher than Ottawa County and an astounding 138 percent higher than the rest of the state! Miller Boat Line, of Put-in-Bay, offers housing options to employees in order to close the gap. PVA Vessel member Miller Boat Line prides itself in being based on the island, with less than six of 100 employees commuting each day from the mainland during the operating season. The family-owned-and-op- erated-business employs seasonal workers, mostly college students, at their terminals and offers them rooms in their three bedroom, two bath “bunk house” on premises for $35 a week, $40 less than other island employers. The company also owns three homes that it leases to full time employees with families. The rent on these varies, but typically comes in around half of the market rate. Miller Boat Line is anticipating several key employees to retire within the next six years, and knows it will have to entice skilled employees. Therefore, the company is also adding two 1,200 square-feet apartments for young families or single employees in order to “get them on their feet.” Miller Boat Line is just one example of many vessel operators that offer Employer Assisted Housing. These include Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry (Mackinaw City, MI),Angel Island State Park (Tiburon, CA), State of Maine, and Isle of Shoals Steamship Company (Portsmouth, NH). n Miller Boat Line carries passengers to Lake Erie’s scenic islands with its fleet of four ferries, the M/V Islander, South Bass, William Market, and the Put-in-Bay. Photo credit: Miller Boat Line.