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Virginia Beach Parks and Rec looking to fill 'hundreds' of jobs

With the unofficial start to summer around the corner, seasonal positions are opening. But employers are having trouble finding applicants.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Bow Creek Recreation Center is gearing up for a summer with COVID-19 restrictions. 

Director Mike Leigh cannot wait to see more people in the pool and gym, but there is one thing. 

“We have a lot of openings to fill,” said Julie Braley, Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation spokesperson.

Memorial Day is around the corner, and this year, the unofficial start of summer means the end to many coronavirus guidelines. But a lot of employers are scrambling to fill positions, even seasonal jobs.

Braley said there are "hundreds" of job openings currently among its centers. Full-time and part-time jobs range from sports-related activities to child care to maintenance. 

"If you need a job, we have openings in a variety of fields," she said. “I think the last I heard we needed at least 40 lifeguards still for the summer." 

Virginia Beach Parks and Rec, like many other employers, is struggling to attract applicants. But for one group along the Oceanfront, that is not the case. 

“We actually closed the application portal just the other day which I’ve never done before Memorial Day," said Chief Tom Gill. 

Gill oversees the Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service and trained more than 30 new lifeguards on Wednesday. Because the beach was open during the pandemic last summer, he said they attracted people who normally wouldn’t have taken the job and that’s helped this time around.

“Happily were beating the average of everyone else that’s looking for a lot of people right now," said Gill. 

More than 40 lifeguard stands will go up before Memorial Day weekend, said Gill. 

Back to the Beach Park and Rec, centers will resume normal operations and open fully soon. Events will also come back, said Braley. Right now, you have to schedule an appointment to use the facilities.

Even if Parks and Rec doesn't receive the applicants it needs, the staff will use a lesson learned in the pandemic: find a way to make it happen. 

"Everyone rose to the challenge. We’ll continue to do the same. If we are short-staffed we will pull together," said Braley. 

If anyone is interested in applying for jobs with Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation, clink here for more information.

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