CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching, which means community pools will be opening up to kick off summer. Unfortunately, many of them are still in desperate need of lifeguards.
The labor shortage continues to affect all areas, including Parks and Recreation.
"We're just like anyone else," Jeff Carwile, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Manager, said. "We are having a hard time getting the proper amount of employees and also people interested in the job. So we recruit year-round for our lifeguards. So it's not just a summertime thing."
Carwile said safety is the number one priority so it is imperative to have enough lifeguards for coverage and safety of the pools.
"If someone has a medical problem and they go underwater, there's not going to be a struggle like you typically see someone drowning," he said. "They just go under. So you have to watch, constantly watch."
"Watching my daughter, anything can happen, especially with water," Jose Olivares, a father and member at the Aquatic Center in Uptown Charlotte, said.
Mecklenburg County covers seven water facilities. Carwile said if the lifeguard positions aren't filled by the time they're all open, there is a plan in place.
"The good thing is, we do have a lot of facilities with a lot of lifeguard staff so we kind of pull and shift lifeguards as needed," Carwile said.
Responsible teenagers are encouraged to apply since they hire as young as 16 years old. Carwile said the county will train those who are accepted. Starting pay is $15 an hour with flexible hours.