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Philadelphia is increasing pay in a bid to hire new lifeguards for its pools this summer.
Starting July 1, rookie lifeguards will earn $16 an hour, up from the prior $15.24 an hour, the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation department announced in a news release. Experienced lifeguards, meanwhile, will be able to make up to $18 an hour.
The $16 an hour minimum pay for new Philadelphia lifeguards is more than double the current state minimum wage, which stands at $7.25 an hour and which Gov. Tom Wolf has for years urged lawmakers to raise.
“The continued challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, an incredibly competitive labor market and a growing nationwide lifeguard shortage have meant we have to work even harder to find new ways to hire and train lifeguards for our pools,” parks and rec Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell said Wednesday during a press conference poolside at the Samuel Recreation Center in Port Richmond.
The center is the fifth location currently open to provide free training and certification for lifeguard trainees, the parks and recreation department said. Screening appointments and certification classes are available seven days a week at all five locations, according to the department.
People interested in becoming a city lifeguard can apply online.
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The parks and rec department said it wants to hire 350-400 lifeguards to open 68 pools this summer.
“Our City lifeguards are heroes. They save lives on the pool deck and in the shallow end teaching the next generation how to swim,” Councilman Mark Squilla said in a written statement.