Lifeguard shortage relief

Published: May. 16, 2023 at 9:53 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - With outdoor pool season fast approaching, Gov. Jared Polis announced a program to help local governments train lifeguards.

Last year, a severe shortage of lifeguards forced many public pools to cut back on their hours significantly.

According to Governor Polis, this year’s program builds upon a similar initiative to keep pools open last summer. This year, however, the emphasis will be on training lifeguards.

The grant program is open to any local government in Colorado that operates public pools. All they have to do is apply for a grant, and if they’re accepted, the state will pay up to $20,000 per jurisdiction to train lifeguards.

Without this program, people would have to pay about $500 out of their own pockets to be trained.

Governor Polis hopes the program will help ease the labor shortage at public pools.

“We’ve been hearing from so many park districts and cities across the state that have had to limit their pool hours just because they don’t have enough lifeguard and support staff,” said Polis. “So, want to address that head-on before we get to the heat of summer so the pools can extend their hours and give everybody the opportunity to swim and have fun.”

Polis has set aside about $260,000 for the program. But the window for local governments to apply for the grants is a narrow one. It closes at 5 p.m. this Friday.

The governor’s office says decisions on the applications will be made by May 26, just before most outdoor pools open for Memorial Day.