A last-minute hiring fair and some generous families helped Bend Park and Recreation limit the number of families pulled from its popular Kids Inc. after-school program.
KIDS Inc., managers needed to hire around 30 people to fully staff the program and keep everyone enrolled.
During a job fair Thursday night, about a dozen staff members were hired.
“We had solid candidates that we hired and offered positions to. And we are hopeful that we are still receiving some applications now and we have another job fair next week on the 1st from 4-7 at the Larkspur Center,” said Sue Boettner, recreation services manager. “We are really hopeful that the momentum is sort of swinging our way.”
Bend Parks and Rec said about 25 families voluntarily opted out of the program, which opened up some additional spots.
“Despite these efforts, we are still short-staffed to serve all who were originally confirmed for the program and there are some families who are now on a first-priority wait list until we are able to hire more staff,” according to a letter sent to parents Friday afternoon. “We will work hard to recruit needed staff to ensure we can maintain a safe, high-quality experience for all children when we’re able to invite them to join the program, hopefully in the weeks ahead.”
Some families were pulled from the program and put on a ‘first priority list.’
But there is still a staffing shortage and about 200 families that had applied continue to wait in after-school childcare limbo.
“To get to where we have about 70 children at every school, we need about 12 more staff,” Boettner said. “Our plan is to always take kids off wait lists because we know they need the care.”
Boettner says the new hires include recent high school graduates who are deciding to work for a year rather than take online college courses.
Some older adults who signed on as youth recreation leaders said they know the importance of after-school childcare and want to help the community.