AUSTIN, Texas — Now that summer break is here for most Central Texas students, some may be needing a summer job. The pool may not be a bad place to start, as the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Aquatics Division needs help staffing.
With 44 facilities, plus Barton Springs Pool, the City of Austin is home to one of the largest aquatics divisions in the nation.
"In order to staff all of our pools, we need approximately 750 lifeguards to make it through the summer season," said Jodi Jay, Division Manager for the City of Parks & Rec Aquatics. "We don’t need all 750 on the first day that the pools are opening. However, we do need those 750 lifeguards to make it through August to keep all of our pools operational."
Before hitting the stands, 40 hours of lifeguard training is required. However, it's not just lifeguard positions that are needing to be filled. There are also job opportunities to become pool attendants, cashiers and swim instructors. Those positions are available to applicants 15 years of age and up.
"We have a competitive wage of $15 an hour, plus paid sick time for all of our lifeguards. So, it really is a great summer job. Nothing better than being out in a pool like this, meeting people and having a good summer," Jay said. "But it is more than a job for students during the summer. We encourage any school teachers that have the summer off that are looking for something to do. Anyone that is supplementing their income, if they need to work evenings or weekends, we have a great flexible schedule and we have a lot of seniors that work for us. Some return to work retirees, so it is a great summer job for everyone."
Jay explained that while all city pools are on par to be open by June 10, if staffing requirements aren't completely fulfilled, there is the possibility of certain amenities at pools remaining closed.
"We believe we will get all the pools open. However, you might see for example a facility like this might have all three of the pools open, but the slides might not be open. Or at your neighborhood pool, you might have the lap pool open but the baby pool closed, or the diving wall closed because we might not have enough lifeguards for all of the stands."
Due to its popularity, Barton Springs Pool is one of the facilities that the department tries to staff first. They also require additional training, and previous lifeguard experience is preferred.
More than a fun summer job, safety is at the core of filling those spots.
"It’s important that we encourage everyone to swim at a guarded facility. We encourage touch supervision, so if you’ve got a child that’s not a swimmer, we ask that you be within arm’s length of that swimmer, always swim with people, don’t swim alone, swim in designated areas, avoid alcohol or drugs when you’re swimming because you have to be able to make smart choices," Jay said. "Nobody is drown proof. Drowning is something that can happen to anyone no matter how good of a swimmer that you are."
To get started on becoming a lifeguard with the City of Austin, click here.
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