Feb 8, 2022 - News

Cities already making push for summer workers

A lifeguard swims while setting up a pool's lap lane.

Lifeguard Tyler Mordarski installs lane lines in a swimming pool at the Hilliard Family Aquatic Center. Photo: © Shane Flanigan/ThisWeek/USA Today Network

Communities across Franklin County are already pulling out all the stops to fill summer recreation positions amid a local and national hiring shortage.

Why it matters: Local pools and rec leagues are hallmarks of summer, but availability may be hindered if there is a lack of employees to run them.

  • The early jump at recruiting summer employees — starting as early as December in some places — points to the urgency municipalities are already experiencing.

Driving the news: Cities began offering benefits not traditionally seen for part-time, seasonal employment.

  • Worthington will pay between $15-18.75 per hour for lifeguards. Previous job listings from 2019 advertised $12.34 an hour.
  • Dublin is giving camp counselors a $250 bonus on their first paycheck and $250 more for completing the camp season.
  • Upper Arlington has its own referral and retention bonuses, and is providing a free lifeguard certification course for prospective workers.

What they're saying: Cities are not just competing with businesses for summer workers, but other municipalities that are in the same boat, Hilliard community relations administrator Anna Subler tells Axios.

State of play: Hilliard needs around 70 summer employees to staff summer programs, rec buildings and the pool.

  • Local governments like Hilliard usually target high school and college-aged students (along with teachers) by promoting job openings in local schools and parks.
  • This year, they've had to get more creative by advertising jobs on social media platforms like Snapchat and TikTok.
  • Gahanna has also gone digital, posting a hiring video on YouTube noting a range of summer jobs paying a minimum of $12 per hour.

Meanwhile, Columbus is advertising for summer lifeguards, golf attendants and parks workers with pay ranging from $9.30-14.50 an hour.


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