Cities Scrambling to Hire Amid Lifeguard Shortage This Summer

The public pool at Dallas' Tietze Park was filled with young students Tuesday evening who were learning to swim.

"This is one of the most important things they do," said Robin Steinshnider, Dallas Aquatics Services manager, looking at the lifeguard/swim instructor. "Teaching kids how to swim."

Dallas has struggled to get enough lifeguards to staff pools this summer. So much so, the city shortened hours at public pools the first two weeks of the season.

"That speaks to the shortage in the area, that it's a struggle to cover all the shifts," Steinshnider explained. "I think the general work ethic of our candidates has kind of declined slowly over the years."

"The people that finally do make it through the hiring process are great," said Grayson Hayes, lifeguard coordinator for Dallas Aquatic Services.

Hayes recruits new guards.

"It's been tough," he said with a laugh.

Haye said he's not sure why it's been hard to find lifeguards the past few years.

"If I knew that, I wouldn't have the problem anymore!" he said.

"The training I had was a bit tough," said lifeguard Leonard Crispin.

It costs roughly $200 to take the 30-hour course to get certified to be a lifeguard. It's a job with more responsibility than some first jobs.

"I like it because it looks good on a college resume," Crispin explained from his lifeguard chair. "I get to meet nice, amazing people – and getting a tan."

Dallas is hiring lifeguards, but so is almost every other city in North Texas.

"We're all scrambling for the same pool of kids," Steinshnider said.

Dallas increased lifeguard pay this year to try to attract more candidates. The salary range for a lifeguard in North Texas is between $9.71/hour and $19.40/hour.

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