Lifeguards needed this summer in Chicago
The Chicago Park District is amping up calls for lifeguards amid a so-far short supply of applicants for the summer jobs.
- Meanwhile, lifeguard shortages are already looming in Philadelphia and the Twin Cities.
Why it matters: Chicago beaches are scheduled to open next month, and outdoor pools are set to open in June, but if trends keep up the Park District may have to shut some indoor pools this summer, as it did last year.
- And these water watchers aren't just for recreation. They also help teach basic swimming skills to kids and adults.
Driving the issue: Officials in other cities point to COVID-related lifeguard-training disruptions and a tight labor market for their shortage.
- But Chicago's lifeguard program suffers the added stigma of a sexual abuse scandal exposed last year by WBEZ.
The latest: Last week, the Park District board voted to establish an Office of Prevention and Accountability to improve training, transparency and "oversight over aquatics," said the district's interim general superintendent, Rosa Escareno.
- It's scheduled to launch later this summer.
State of play: On April 5, the district introduced the "I Am a Chicago Lifeguard" campaign using billboards and signs at parks to boost recruitment.
- The job pays $15.88 an hour.
- In response, "a favorable number of candidates have shown interest," district spokeswoman Michele Lemons told Axios. But she would not share those numbers.
- Lemons also declined to say how many guards the Park District needs to staff pools and beaches this summer. She said that information could only be obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests. (Axios submitted a FOIA on Tuesday.)
What's next: If interested, you can apply for lifeguard jobs and training here.
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