PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is recruiting for its summertime workforce again to help staff seasonal employment positions at state beaches, parks, and campgrounds.
Every year, DEM recruits lifeguards, park rangers, facilities attendants, and other key staff to fill Rhode Island residents, ages 16 and older, are encouraged to apply.
“DEM manages parks, beaches, and other facilities for public access and enjoyment, and hiring a robust seasonal workforce is the main way we fulfill these goals,” said DEM Acting Director Terry Gray. “Although there certainly are challenges in the workforce, we’re hopeful that the prospect of higher pay than ever for lifeguard positions, working outside at some of the state’s premier travel destinations, gaining experience for future degree programs and employment, and having the opportunity to meet and work with people from a host of places and backgrounds will attract applicants to these open positions.”
The challenges he mentions are evident in data kept by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing that the current number of job openings nationally is at its highest level since December 2000. DEM and other employers also are contending with long-term labor force data revealing that the share of teens participating in the workforce peaked 40 years ago and has declined ever since.
Today, just over one-third, or 35%, of teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are part of the workforce. BLS data suggest that year-round schooling and summer classes are a major cause, with the percent of 16- to 19-year-olds enrolled in summer school tripling in the last 20 years.
Full-time lifeguard positions are available at all state swimming areas, including saltwater beaches such as Roger Wheeler and Scarborough, non-surf beaches such as Goddard, and freshwater beaches such as Burlingame Campground and Lincoln Woods State Park. Pay for lifeguards ranges from $14 to $17 an hour, based on location and position level. All lifeguard candidates must receive state certification and must have successfully completed courses and hold valid cards in lifeguard training, first aid, and CPR including infant, child, and adult.
DEM is also seeking park rangers, clerks, facilities attendants, and ground keepers to work at recreational sites across the state. Park rangers are instrumental to a safe and fun experience at DEM properties. They give directions to beach-goers and park users, help with crowd control, provide security checks for facilities, and are the first responders in the event of emergency. Hourly rates for park rangers range from $12.25 to $13.35. Applicants for Facilities Attendant and Park Ranger I must be 16 years of age or older and applicants for Park Ranger positions at levels II and III must be 18 years of age or older.
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