Apparently swimming-pool lifeguard is one of those jobs Americans won't do.
The hottie European lifeguards often seen strutting their stuff around private pool clubs will be nowhere to be found July 4.
Recruiters up and down the East Coast are reporting a severe shortage of the exchange students they’ve relied on for years — and they’re blaming visa issues.
“In the last year or so, we’ve seen dramatic ups and downs from certain countries that have long been where these pool management companies have been recruiting from. So we’re seeing dramatic (changes) with the visa denial rate,” said Jennifer Hatfield, director of government relations for the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals.
Brian Bergeski, president of American Pool in New Jersey, said he has got enough domestic lifeguards to cover his clients, but the visa problem at other companies has set off a “bidding war” for students as young as 15.
“There are pools that to date are still not open,” Bergeski said of his competitors. “It’s probably the hardest staffing year.”
Recruiters sounded the alarm in May and predicted — accurately — that some pools would have to close because there was no one to oversee safety.
Authorities in Allentown, Pa., closed one public pool and limited hours at three others because they can’t find enough guards.
B.J. Fisher, health and safety director for the American Lifeguard Association, said a shortage of domestic lifeguards coupled with the “unprecedented” J-1 visa troubles have made for a “double storm.”
He said increased vetting and the Trump administration’s fiery rhetoric have hurt recruitment of foreign lifeguards, who must pay their own way.
“The concern is they spend the money and then at the last minute they get denied,” Fisher said. ["Why pools are facing a severe lifeguard shortage" by Masisa Schultz; New York Post, July 3rd 2018.]
Fortunately the principle that there is no such thing as a shortage, only a clearing price, has not yet been altogether purged from public awareness.
On Staten Island [borough of New York City], recruiter June Tata starting offering incentives. In addition to a referral bonus, Tata is reimbursing teens with good grades the cost for their lifeguard certification – which runs upwards of $400 in New York City.
“I needed more guards,” said Tata, operations manager of the Pool Therapist on Staten Island. “I have so many facilities I have to staff with multiple guards that I needed to be able to get the word out there that you want to work for Pool Therapist.”
There are opportunities for geezers, too.
The American Lifeguard Association estimates that 20 percent more lifeguards are required this summer for swimmers to be safe at the 309,000 pools nationwide.
The association is encouraging retirees to become certified lifeguards to create a “silver” guard force.
That's something I could go for: an agreeable way to pick up some extra income in the summer, sitting all day long in warm sunshine, counting bikinis. Alas, I can't swim. Plenty of geezers can, though. Rise to the challenge, senior Americans!