KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – Public pools become a godsend over long summer vacations. It’s a place to gather, cool off, relax, but it doesn’t help if it’s closed due to staffing shortages.
That’s the predicament the City of Kingsport finds itself in at the aquatic center.
Kingsport Aquatic Center Assistant Manager Chassy Smiley told News Channel 11 to open a pool for one shift, 23 lifeguards are necessary. That’s not counting all the other necessary positions to keep operations running.
“Most times when people think of a pool, they think lifeguards, but it takes a full team of people to make our operation run successfully,” Smiley said.
The center needs roughly 160 extra employees during the summer to keep a solid schedule, but they still need to fill more than 50 positions as of Thursday.
“We’re always looking for lifeguards, so we’re always hiring them,” Smiley said. “We would take 100 of them if we could find them. But in our other support positions, we’ve got about 20 to 30 positions because of vacations or other activities or things, and we try to be really flexible. So having enough team members on to make that flexibility work really helps us as an organization as well.”
There are plenty of other job opportunities at the center as well.
“If water and lifeguarding isn’t your thing, we have front desk workers who help greet our customers and get them hooked up with rentals and other things. And then we also have gate workers who do daily admissions, concession workers, aquatic attendants, and a lot of support team members who make it all happen every day,” she said.
Smiley noted that each summer, students obtaining their two-year associate’s degrees at Northeast State Community College would flock to the center for part-time work. However, this year they’ve only been able to attract a handful of college students to work the summer.
With summer vacation just around the corner, Smiley added that the aquatic center is a great place for teenagers to work.
“If you’re that kid that’s sitting at home, let me tell you gas is not cheap nowadays,” she said. “So we can help you with some gas money, cell phones. It teaches some self-accountability. So parents if you’re looking for your kids to learn a little bit of that, we definitely pride ourselves in teaching people some life skills and getting them ready to kind of go out into the world.”
The city offers a pay scale of $9 to $13 per hour depending on experience. An increase of between $1 and $3 was made to incentivize applications.
Red Cross lifeguard courses are necessary to become a lifeguard, and those are offered at the aquatic center for those interested in that position.
“I also want to emphasize whether you’re 15 or 85 or 100 years old, we’ve got a place for you if you want something to do with us,” Smiley said. “So that’s the one thing we really try to tell people is it’s not just the facility for the young at heart. We also have the people who are obviously older that are also younger at heart and you fit in in our role too.”
She said the center is counting on lots of people to apply so they can offer flexible hours to all workers.
“It’s a great summer job,” Smiley said. “We’re looking for anybody who’s reliable, dependable, has a good attitude, and is just willing to come and learn and be a part of a team. I think our whole philosophy is we are team-oriented. If somebody doesn’t show up, it hurts somewhere.”
To apply, click HERE.