MENTOR, Ohio (WJW) – A lifeguard shortage is forcing Mentor city leaders to close two of the city’s three swimming pools.
On Monday, Mentor City Manager Kenneth Filipiak told FOX 8 News that they have been aggressively trying to recruit lifeguards, but they don’t have enough to open and staff all three public pools.
Only the Civic Center Pool located at 8600 Munson Road will open on June 6.
“Right now, we have a dozen lifeguards. In the past, we’d have 80 to 100 or more, so it’s really an odd situation we’ve never thought we’d find ourselves in,” said Filipiak.
If more lifeguards aren’t hired soon, even the Civic Center Pool could see restrictions, including limited hours or closing some days.
“Instead of seven days a week, we may be five or six days a week or be open every day with shortened hours.”
According to Filipiak, Mentor is not the only city experiencing this problem. Pools across Northeast Ohio are having trouble finding lifeguards.
“What we’re seeing across the board for all employment positions, especially part-time and seasonal work, we’re just not getting enough applicants to fill the positions,” said Filipiak.
Officials in Akron and Cleveland confirmed that they too are experiencing difficulties hiring lifeguards but both cities at this point have enough to open all of their pools.
To encourage people to apply, Mentor has now raised the starting wage and is offering to reimburse lifeguard certification costs, as well as other incentives to encourage people to apply.
“One can earn up to $14 per hour to start. If you’ve got some experience, you can earn even more, which we believe is the highest wage in the area,” said Filipiak.
The position requires a minimum of 25 hours per week.
Filipiak says applicants should be 16 or older and a strong swimmer.
They also must also possess a valid American Red Cross or similar Lifeguarding Training Certification which includes CPR for Professional Rescuers Certification and First Aid
Anyone interested can apply through the city’s website or by directly contacting the Mentor Parks and Recreation Department at 440-974-5720.