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Willamalane’s aquatics centers try creative hiring process


Staffing the aquatics centers at Willamalane’s pools in Springfield has not gone swimmingly during the pandemic. It’s got the district thinking creatively about hiring.

Willamalane’s Whitney Hoshaw said they’re operating with just 30 percent of the pre-pandemic pool staff. So they started making quick hires from group interviews. Once lifeguards are employees, Willamalane pays for necessary courses.

Hoshaw said aquatics staff are happy the class costs aren’t a barrier now, adding, “They’re feeling really confident that this is finally the sweet spot of the hiring process and one major improvement that we’ve been able to make. And then they’re going to look at other ways that they can improve the hiring process and retention of those staff members.”

Hoshaw said they’re considering raising wages and offering career advancement, and that "everything's on the table."

Both Willamalane Park Swim Center and Splash! at Lively Park are now closed through at least January 27th due to COVID impacts on the already reduced staff.
Hoshaw said in addition to drop-in hours and water fitness classes, this week’s closure affects planned birthday parties, local club and high school swim team practices, swim lessons, and underwater hockey team practice.

As of Wednesday afternoon, an aquatics hiring event is still scheduled for the evening of Monday, January 24th at Splash!

Details about the closures, which will be re-evaluated on January 26th are on their website, here.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.