It's a problem that it seems every employer has these days:  There are simply not enough applicants to fill their open positions.  From restaurants to retail stores, factories to government, no one has been immune from the worker shortage of the last year or so.

The City of Superior has had a problem filling the open positions it has in the parks department.  These jobs are varied in what they are - from playground monitors to skating rink attendants - but they all have one thing in common:  they're essential to keeping these recreational facilities open to the general public.

To combat the problem, Superior officials are looking at taking a two-prong approach:  offering higher wages for the available positions and reducing the minimum age for applicants.

That younger approach is one that the city hopes might solve some of their issues.  According to an article in the Superior Telegram [paywall], the city has usually filled these positions with older personnel. Cammi Janigo, Human Resources Director for the City of Superior explains:  "Traditionally the city has hired primarily adults.  That changed when the city struggled to fill playground positions. We are having an extremely difficult time filling those positions."

Wade Bowl Park in Superior, WI
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

In the past, minors in these positions needed to work with adults.  But considering staffing challenges, that could change.  "(i)instead of pairing a 16 or 17 year old with someone older than 18, (they're) recommending the city consider allowing two responsible teens to work together to monitor the city's recreation programs".

The strategy comes with a proposal to the city to amend the hiring policy "to allow 16 to 17 year olds to work together to oversee the city's recreational sites".  They're also proposing an amendment to raise the pay scale to $15 per hour.

What's next?  A vote.  The City of Superior City Council will take up the proposed amendments at their next meeting on Tuesday, February 2.

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