Education, town government, and the hospital spell jobs

The school system is the Island's largest employer. — File photo by Lynn Christoffers

The Martha’s Vineyard economy is seasonal in nature and made up primarily of small employers. According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD), 80 percent of Island jobs are in the “service-providing domain” while the remainder are in trade, transportation, and utilities.

More than 10,000 people were employed on Martha’s Vineyard at the end of 2013, according to Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD) figures. At the height of the summer season more than 15,000 people were employed. Total wages paid on the Island in 2013 were close to $350 million.

However, the Island’s largest employers are in the public sector, including the school system and town governments. The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital follows closely behind.

Education counts

The Martha’s Vineyard public school system employs a total of 490 people, according to figures from the superintendent of schools. It is the single largest employer on the Island with an annual payroll of $31,926,596.

Teachers and other professionals, such as counselors, account for the most jobs (275), followed by assistants (125). Support personnel, custodians, secretaries, cafeteria, and administration personnel total 90 employees.

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) has the largest payroll, $9,239,687, and 122 employees. These include full-time and part-time workers.

The Up-Island Region, consisting of the West Tisbury and Chilmark Schools, operates on a budget of $5,050,159 with 97 employees; the Oak Bluffs School budget is $4,819,694 with 80 employees. The Edgartown School has a budget of $4,736,485 and 88 employees. The Tisbury School is $4,314,878 with 75 employees.

The superintendent’s office payroll is $3,765,733. A total of 106 employees, including a combination of full- and part-time workers in a range of jobs from administration to counseling and other student support services, fall under this budget.

Town jobs

Collectively, the six Island towns are the second largest Island employer. Not counting town school employees, a total of 312 people work for Island municipalities. This includes year-round and seasonal employees.

Aquinnah employs 14 full-time and eight part-time workers not counting summer workers used to augment the police department and staff the town parking lot.

Chilmark has 18 full-time, and 20 part-time employees. It hires a total of 23 full- and part-time summer employees.

Edgartown is the Island’s largest employer with just under 100 full-time and 10 part-time employees, not counting school personnel. In the summer, the park and recreation department hires 35 additional people, the shellfish department 15 and the police and harbormaster five each.

The town of Oak Bluffs has about 75 full-time and six part-time employees, not counting school employees. The police department employs 15 full-time officers. A total of 43 additional employees are hired in the summer, eight by the police department and 12 each by the marina and the parks departments.

The town of Tisbury employs about 75 full-time employees, not counting school personnel, 50 part-time workers, and 24 summer employees.

West Tisbury employs 34 full-time and 131 individuals who received some sort of compensation, wages or stipends, who were less than full-time.

Healthy numbers

The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital is the third largest Island employer, with 283 full-time employees. That figure includes 53 part-time workers, and 105 per diem employees with a total gross payroll of $29.9 million. Two-thirds work in patient care and one third in support services.

Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center employs 46 full-time, 25 part-time, and 22 per diem workers. Payroll is $3.2 million.


As the Island’s population increases from a winter average of around 18,000 to a summer peak of close to 90,000 the leisure and hospitality workforce also grows. Total wages in the leisure and hospitality market were $57 million, according to state figures. The hospitality workforce, about 4,000 in the summer, drops to under 800 in the winter.

The Harbor View and Kelley House hotels in Edgartown are the largest hotels on the Island. They are both operated by Scout Hotels. They employ close to 100 in the winter and more than 250 in the summer, with most of the summer help coming from American and foreign college students.

The Mansion House is open year-round and maintains fairly consistent staffing through the year, according to co-owner Susie Goldstein. They employ 20 full-time people and between 25 and 30 part-timers. During the summer they may add up to five people, according to need.

The Steamship Authority (SSA), one of the Island’s more visible employers employs about 63 people who use Vineyard addresses with gross earnings of around $2.7 million in 2013. The SSA employed a total of 667 people in 2013 and paid gross wages of $30.3 million. About 550 are employed year-round.


The state figures show that employees in the retail trades double from around 900 during the winter to about 1,800 in the summer. The Island’s grocery stores are among the largest year-round retail employers.

The Island’s two Stop & Shop markets employ a total of 40 full-time and 99 part-time workers yearround. The Vineyard Haven Stop & Shop employs 10 full-time and 47 part-time. In the summer they add one more full-time and 38 more part-time employees. The Edgartown Stop & Shop employs 30 full-time and 52 part-time, year-round. During the summer they add 10 more full-time and 108 part-time employees.

Cronig’s Market, including both stores and Healthy Additions, has 36 full-time, and 12 part-time employees, including eight MVRHS students. They hire 20-25 seasonal employees.

Construction and landscaping

Many of the Island construction businesses, which employ between 600 and 700 with a total payroll of $41 million, according to state figures, are small businesses, many of them self-employed single tradesmen, but there are some exceptions.

South Mountain Company, a West Tisbury builder, with architects, designers, engineers, as well as cabinet makers and carpenters, employs 32 people full-time and two part-time and often has two interns. Their payroll in 2013 was $3.1 million.

The John G. Early Contractor and Builder, Inc., Vineyard Haven, employs 22 people full-time and one part-time with a payroll of almost $1.5 million. They seldom hire more than one or two in the summer. Summer is generally their slow time unless they are working on a large job. “No one wants us working when they or their tenants are in house,” said operations manager Louis de Geofroy.

Holmes Hole Builders, based in Vineyard Haven, employs 12 people full-time with a payroll of over a million dollars.

Vineyard Gardens, one of the larger Island landscaping and garden supply companies, employs six full-time and five part-time year-round workers and adds close to 40 more full-time in the summer. Their gross payroll was $1.29 million in 2013. Owner Chuck Wiley said that most of the summer hires are either students or full-time Islanders who work other jobs during the winter.