For the estimated 2,000 college students who come from abroad each year to fill the labor gap in the Dells, finding housing is far from guaranteed. Motel owner Chris Swart believes local officials should adopt regulations to improve housing for temporary workers in the Dells.
Each year, thousands of foreign students flock to the Dells with special visas to work in its tourism industry. But there are holes in the program: The work isn’t always guaranteed, students have little recourse for mistreatment, housing can be substandard, and getting around in the Dells can be downright dangerous.
Since the area has no public transit besides taxi, many of estimated 2,000 international students who come to work in the Dells each summer ride bicycles to get around. Of the 21 bicycle-vehicle crashes reported in Wisconsin Dells and Lake Delton since 2008, police reports indicate 19 involved international student riders.