Snow days impact Aberdeen Parks & Rec staff training

Published: May. 29, 2023 at 6:28 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The school systems in Aberdeen had a record number of snow days to make up for this year, and those snow days had an impact on the city’s summer jobs.

Mark Hoven, the director of Aberdeen Parks and Recreation, said he would recommend a summer job with the city to any high school student.

“It’s a great place to gain some experience. You get a lot of communication with the public and working with the public and it’s a safe atmosphere within our system. So, we feel very strongly that it’s a great place for your kids to come and to learn to work and to be part of a team atmosphere that we have, and it’s fun to be outside,” said Hoven.

Getting this year’s staff trained, however, proved to be a bit of a challenge.

During the 2022-2023 school year, the public and private school systems in Aberdeen had a record number of snow days to make up for at the end of the year. Students were in class through May 26th. The week of summer break students typically have before Memorial Day weekend is usually when the city conducts its summer training.

”The lateness of the school has kind of hurt us there a little bit too, because that’s our main primary workforce in a lot of ways is those 15, 16, 17, 18-year-old kids coming out of school. So, yeah, it’s been a challenge all season,” said Hoven.

The city had to adjust to accommodate the snow days students were making up for in May, but even those adjustments had challenges.

”That pushed us back into some evening trainings. Typically, we would train them during the day when they were out of school, but this year, we had to rethink that whole model and start doing some evening work. That’s tough too because those kids have school things that they’re ending the year with, recitals and concerts and award ceremonies,” said Hoven.

While Storybook Land and the Wylie Park campgrounds were able to open on Friday, the impact of the longer school year was most felt at the Aberdeen Aquatic Center, which won’t be able to open until June 5 in order to train their lifeguards.

”The water park, obviously, is to going to be delayed. That is just because they have to get their staff in, they’ve got to get them trained and do all those things,” said Hoven.

As far as getting staff hired in the first place, an increase in minimum wage helped make that a bit easier.

”In the last two years, we’ve moved our minimums up, I think, somewhere between $13 to $14 an hour now. For some positions, even a little bit more than that. Particularly, at the water park, I think it’s been very helpful,” said Hoven.

Hoven said the city also had a good amount of returning staff members for their seasonal jobs. There are still a few positions open, particularly in maintenance, and applications will be open all summer long.

”We’re always looking. We’re always taking applications. I don’t think we ever get to a point where we don’t,” said Hoven.

The application for summer jobs within the City of Aberdeen can be found here.