Kent might not have lifeguards this summer as city struggles to fill part-time jobs

You can feel it when you step outside: warmer weather is slowly approaching and with summer around the corner, seasonal jobs are opening back up. But filling those vacancies remains tough for a King County park.

Local governments across Puget Sound are beginning their search to hire seasonal help. In Kent, part-time jobs are up for grabs including lifeguards at Lake Meridian Park, but finding qualified applicants has been a challenge this year. 

"We’ve been desperately trying to find lifeguards," Kent Mayor Dana Ralph told the city council this week.

She said the parks department needs to hire approximately 20 people to keep the program running. Families at the park told Q13 News Thursday they wonder what's keeping applicants from signing up.

"Maybe the salary is not good enough," said Yunfei Li, who spent the day at the lake with his family. "Maybe they have not reached enough people to catch their attention."

The City of Kent’s Twitter account is sometimes known for its clever commentary. On Thursday, the city’s profile shared a tweet hoping a photo of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson from the film, "Baywatch" would encourage a new round of applicants. But a part-time job paying $20 an hour made some at the park wonder what else is at play. 

"It’s not a simple issue, there are factors at play," said Li. "Stimulus checks and many other issues."

Ralph agreed, telling the city council she has heard about the problem in the private sector.

"There is a significant lack of part-time applicants when unemployment is paying far more than a part-time job," she said. 

Ralph also warns citizens who have already signed up for summer programs might face disappointment should a lack of part-time job applicants force the city to cancel them. 

Anyone seeking employment with the city of Kent can browse job listings here

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