Parks Commissioner Rubio says more workers needed, especially for swim programs.

COURTESY PHOTO: PP&R - Portland Parks and Recreation swim pool workers are especially needed for this summer.Portland Parks & Recreation is recruiting to help with the opening of the summer 2022 recreation season. Registration opens Monday, May 23.

Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio has issued a call to Portlanders to help offer a full array of programs. The bureau continues to experience the same staffing challenges as nearly all parks and recreation agencies across the country.

"We are ready and eager to offer Portlanders a full array of summer activities, from swim lessons to Free Summer Lunch and Play — but we need more staff," Rubio said. "Whether you're a teenager looking for your first job or an adult who loves building community and working with kids, we've got employment opportunities for you."

Specifically, the PP&R aquatics program is affected by ongoing recruitment struggles. A nationwide survey conducted by the National Recreation and Parks Association showed that 88% of park and recreation agencies indicate they are not fully staffed for lifeguards this summer season. Cities such as Phoenix and Austin have said they will only open half of their public pools due to lifeguard shortages, and leading park systems from Chicago to the Washington, D.C., area are cutting back services.

Given this, Rubio encourages Portlanders to consider joining PP&R as a lifeguard, swim instructor or other available positions.

As a result of Portland's current aquatics staff shortage, when registration opens on Monday, May 23, swim lessons will be available only at outdoor pools. Both indoor and outdoor pools will be open for exercise and family swim sessions.

But Rubio stressed the bureau can and will open more lessons if it is able to hire and train more aquatics staff.

"We greatly appreciate Portlanders' patience as the Parks Bureau continues to recruit, hire and train the valuable teammates who make PP&R's services possible," Rubio said. "If you or someone you know is interested in helping kids learn to swim, while earning good wages with a flexible schedule, please go to the {obj:62951:PP&R website} to learn about and apply for available positions. If we can recruit, hire, and train more lifeguards soon, then PP&R can hopefully expand swim lesson opportunities throughout the summer."

Summer registrations can be done in-person or by phone, but the fastest option is to sign up online to register.

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