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Green Bay city pools struggling to find lifeguards

The tight job market could affect your child's summer fun
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 6:21 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2022 at 10:58 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - As a tight labor market leaves job openings seemingly everywhere, cities continue to struggle to find enough lifeguards just as the summer heat is starting to hit its peak.

Only two pools are open so far this year in Green Bay. Joannes Aquatic Center only opened two days ago. City officials say immediately when this pool opened, hundreds began coming in to cool off from the sun. Last year, Green Bay was only able to open one pool.

Several kids were at Joannes Wednesday afternoon enjoying their time at the pool, most of them free from academic responsibilities.

“I love swimming and I love coming here all the time,” Darnell Shields Jr., 13, said.

“The diving board and just hanging out,” 13-year-old Isaiah Flowers said of his favorite things to do at the pool.

Joannes and the Resch Aquatic Center have seen a high volume of people thanks in part to the warm June. The city is attempting to open Colburn Pool.

James Anderson, deputy director of the city Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, said, “We don’t like the fact that we could only open one pool last year. We’re really striving to open all three facilities this year. We have one open in the west side of town in Resch, and one open in the east side in Joannes. And Colburn gives users and guests a different experience.”

Green Bay is looking for lifeguards and for attendants to operate the concessions.

As we’ve previously reported, Green Bay has a tight labor market with two job openings for every one job applicant.

“This is not a unique challenge just for Green Bay park and rec here. Everywhere around the community you see the hire signs. Everybody is looking for extra help,” Anderson said.

A handful of kids used one word to Action 2 News to describe their feeling if Joannes wouldn’t have opened: disappointment.

“I would’ve probably been disappointed because It’s been really hot outside,” 10-year-old Savannah Yonkee said.

A sentiment echoed by 10-year-old Jaxon Marohl, “I would’ve been disappointed because I don’t get to swim with my friends that much.”

City officials say being a lifeguard is a good job that may not pay as well as elsewhere but you get to enjoy the amenities, like taking a dip to cool off.

Green Bay pools are already seeing high volumes. The city wants to open the pool in Colburn Park next week.

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