Chicago Park District pools have postponed the pools opening date and has rescheduled it to 5th July. Summer is looming around the corner and temperatures are up in 80’s and 90’s in Chicago. However, the residents will have to wait to enjoy the pools in scorching heat. Chicago Park Districts is facing the issue to lifeguard shortage.

Only 9% of required lifeguards are hired

Recently, the Part District have pushed back its target date to open pools. They are hoping that factors like extra upfront cash and some extra time will help them in hiring enough staff to open the pools in July. According to The Sun, 91% of seasonal lifeguard jobs are vacant in Chicago. The Park District has managed to hire only 9% of the open positions during the last week.

$600 signing bonus

However, the Park District are putting up efforts to fill the vacant lifeguard positions. Therefore, they are offering new lifeguards a $600 signing bonus and has lifted the city residency requirement. In addition, they are also offering a $500 bonus to the employees of Park District who are referring people. They will get the bonus after the hiring of the new employee for the position of lifeguard. “Chicago families rely on our park programs during the summer, so we are not giving up. We need lifeguards NOW and are offering great incentives to anyone who is a strong swimmer and interested in keeping the public safe.” General Superintendent Rosa Escareño said in a statement. Escareño said the Park District hopes to hire around 300 lifeguards.

Challenges for Park District

The shortage of lifeguards is a nationwide issue across the United States. However, this issue has intensified in Chicago due to investigation in to a “frat boy culture” of harassment and assault among lifeguards. Simultaneously, the spread of COVID-19 was also a hindrance in lifeguard training sessions. Currently, there are 77 indoor and outdoor pools under the Park District. Last year, 29 pools remained closed due to shortage of lifeguards.

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