Bend Park and Recreation will have to pull some students out of its Kids Inc. after-school program this fall if they aren’t able to quickly hire about 30 people.
“Kids Inc. is facing a severe staffing shortage as we head into the school year. We are doing everything we can to find qualified people to help care for your children, including holding job fairs, increasing pay and benefits, revising positions to offer some year-round opportunities and more,” wrote Sue Boettner, recreation services manager. “It does not seem to be enough as there are not many applicants for the open positions. If we are not able to find staff to fill these jobs, we will be forced to temporarily reduce the number of children that we are able to serve until staffing levels improve.”
Bend Park and Recreation District is calling on all parents who rely on the program to help recruit and refer potential employees in the next two weeks.
Letters were sent to families of nearly 1,000 school-age children who are enrolled for the upcoming school year today asking for help.
The park district offers afterschool care on-site at 14 elementary schools in Bend, which requires 80-90 employees in total.
Hundreds of students are on waiting lists at schools as well.
The program plans to add academic support and enrichment activities this fall including STEM activities and homework help, in addition to art, games and sports which have been part of the program for three decades.
Families are being asked to refer friends or family members with experience with young children and might want a fulfilling job opportunity to apply for needed positions and/or attend a hiring event this Thursday, Aug. 26 from 4-7 pm at Larkspur Community Center.
An additional hiring event is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 1, which may be too close to the start of the school year to hold off temporary changes.
BPRD leaders will reduce enrollments starting at the beginning of the school year until staff hiring improves if additional staff are not hired this week.
Follow-up communication to families will occur Friday to advise if enrollment reductions must be made. Affected students will be chosen at random.
“Please know that we will continue looking for solutions and will do our best to continue serving the after-school care needs for your family and others in our community,” Boettner said.