BUTTE — Businesses across the nation report difficulty finding workers. Butte-Silver Bow County is also having a difficult time finding workers for summer jobs, including lifeguards for the city’s outdoor pool.
“More particularly to lifeguards, we used to have 40 to 50 applicants, and this year we’ve got 16,” said Ridge Waters Manager Mark Fisher.
The Ridge Waters Pool at Stodden Park would like to have at least 30 employees on staff to keep watch over swimmers at the large facility. If it doesn’t get enough staff, hours could be limited this summer.
“I can’t safely say that I can open this facility when we don’t have adequate lifeguards. My job as the manager is to make sure everybody walks in here safely and they leave safely,” said Fisher.
The county is noticing shortages of applicants for summer work in other departments as well. These jobs often go to high school and college students. Officials say the pandemic prevented the high schools from holding job fairs, which may explain the low number of applicants.
“We’re not able to meet in person, we’re not able to have the job fairs, so I believe we’ll be able to fully staff all of our positions, it’s just been a little bit more trying this year,” said Butte Chief Executive J.P. Gallagher.
Being a lifeguard is serious work, but it’s also important to keep the pool going because city officials say it's not only good for the economy, it’s good for building memories. And also, you can do the Bay Watch run.
“This is the heart of the park, this is, this is the heart. I mean, this is where people want to come in the summertime. We’re talking on the lifeguard side of it, you’re working on your tan all day long, you’re interacting with guests, I mean—it is a good job,” said Fisher.
People are encouraged to go to the Butte-Silver Bow Job Opportunities website to look at summer job listings.