Lifeguard shortage cutting pool hours in Colorado Springs

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COLORADO SPRINGS — The nationwide struggles of hiring and lifeguard shortages are coming to ahead as the pool season begins in Colorado Springs has some pools are being forced to cut hours of operation, lap lanes, and swim lanes because of the inability to hire people on.

For the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region, which operates the city’s pools in Colorado Springs, they have half the number of lifeguards needed for summer, needing 120 more people. The Y is more fortunate than other outdoor venues. It is cutting hours at indoor pools in order to shift staff to outdoor locations, to take advantage of the shorter outdoor swimming season in the state.

“There’s just not much we can do. We’re hiring lifeguards as quickly as we can but, until we get the amount we need, we’re never going to jeopardize safety,” said Jenna Press, the marketing and communications director for the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region.

The Y has increased pay for lifeguards as well as offering a bonus for new employees on their first check, but they are still trying to keep up. Cutting the number of positions is not an option for pools and neither is extending longer shifts because Press said those can create safety issues.

Compounding the problem is the nature of the job itself—they need qualified people and need them properly trained in order to do the job.

“It’s always a tricky position to fill because we need so many, but they do need training and some certifications before they can start which can also make the process a little bit more of the struggle.” Press said.

The YMCA is taking applications here.

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