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Aberdeen Aquatic Center, Parks & Rec facing seasonal staff shortage

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 5:35 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - It’s been well over a year since the last time the Aberdeen Aquatic Center was filled up with water. Now that staff is preparing for a new season in 2021, it’s not just the pool they’re looking to fill up, but vacant positions as well.

While still having been maintained, the center hasn’t been open since 2019. Staff is currently in the process of getting the center ready to be filled, starting earlier this year to look for any extra maintenance work.

“We had started in April like we normally would, started our pre-season preparations,” said Aquatics/Recreation Supervisor Travis Lemer. “And we were at the point where we were ready to fill. And that’s about the time we had to make some decisions.”

But a more pressing issue for Lemer is the need for staff, especially lifeguards. Normally he says the center likes to have 40 for a season, where currently they’re hovering around 30.

“Obviously not having the pool of returning staff is a big part of that. Where normally we’d return 70 percent of our staff, you know some of those kids have gone out and did other things. Some of them have kind of aged out, where they’ve gone onto full-time jobs.”

He said the need for seasonal workers is affecting not just the aquatic center or even the Aberdeen Parks, Recreation, and Forestry department; it’s a problem caused by the pandemic that many are seeing across the state.

“We’ve got a lot of our senior and veteran staff that are now moving on. And not only are you training a larger number, hopefully, of new staff, but you also have less veteran staff to rely on,” Lemer said.

But there’s still time for those interested in seasonal jobs or especially as a lifeguard, as training is still available and training can be reimbursed.

“We still have four classes left just in Aberdeen alone, over the next month and a half.”

More information about job openings and training available through the Aberdeen Parks, Recreation, and Forestry department can be found here.

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