Summer Fun programs get underway despite scores of unfilled positions
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the past two years, the pandemic has put a damper on Honolulu’s Summer Fun program.
Now, like many organizations and companies locally and nationwide, the program is dealing with hiring woes.
They’re making do with thinner employee ranks, fewer kids and scaled-down programming.
Officials said that they only ended up with about 330.
“We are still short-staffed,” said Shana Macadangdang, children and youth Coordinator for the Department of Parks and Recreation. “And we do have a waitlist at some select sites across the city. That has kind of hindered our possibilities of taking any more kids into the programming due to staffing shortages.”
Their original goal was to provide opportunities for more than 9,000 keiki to come to Summer Fun.
Today, there are about 6,900 enrolled.
“What we’re trying to do right now is have the new hires come in to address the waitlist, that we have some of our more popular sites,” said Nathan Serota, a spokesman for the department.
They have openings for teens and adults 16 and up. But just like everyone else looking for a job, it’s an employee’s market.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than a third of eligible teens have jobs. That’s the highest teen employment rate since before the 2008 recession.
But with so many open positions, bosses are open to younger workers to solve their staffing problems.
That means more competition for the best summer job.
“You see a lot of people offering signing bonuses,” said Serota. “And unfortunately, we can’t offer something like that. But what we do offer are these benefits. There’s probably something that’s close to their homes.
“You’re working outside with kids and having a dynamic environment.”
“It is definitely nice to see the kids out and enjoying themselves and socializing, and getting to be kids again,” said Macadangdang. “Not have to worry about the stresses of everything that’s been going on. It’s been great. A lot of them have been doing field trips to the beaches and checking out our little small nonprofit organizations around the island.”
Overall, the city’s program says the number of families interested and the staff openings that are filled is not too off-balance. They said there weren’t enough kids signed up to reach their maximum, but they still have available positions to address the waitlist.
Serota said they are looking to hire about 30 summer sides, swim aides or lifeguards, and therapeutic recreation staff.
Wages range from $15 to $17 an hour.
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