INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- When he delivers his first ever State of the City address Wednesday night, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett is expected to announce whether the community has reached his goal of finding jobs for 1,000 young people this summer.
“A thousand jobs is reasonably modest,” Hogsett told FOX59 during a walk through an east side neighborhood last week. “I’m told by demographers that in the 15 to 18-year-old cohort countywide there’s probably anywhere from 16,000-20,000 kids in that age cohort that are at risk.”
As Hogsett has often said, “When kids have nothing to do, rarely will they do nothing.”
The mayor challenged the corporate community this spring to help find those part-time summer jobs while his own parks department is struggling to fill positions at city pools and youth camps.
Indy Parks has 350 seasonal positions in its aquatics program for cashiers, pool managers, cashiers and lifeguards and another 80 jobs for day camp counselors.
Starting pay is between $8.50 and $10 an hour.
“It really teaches responsibility,” said Jenny Stoneking, Senior Aquatics Manager. “First jobs for teenagers-- its better than flipping burgers. The responsibility of it, managing their time at the pool, being responsible for the safety, its really a great resume builder, critical thinking skills, using their own judgment, independent thinking, like I said, first aid skills, CPR skills. It’s a job where pretty much everyone they get to work with is their own age so it's lots of fun.”
Stoneking says if an applicant can swim, Indy Parks can teach him or her how to save a life-- skills that can be used year round and not always at poolside.
“Somebody came up to me and said, ‘Oh, you used to be a lifeguard.’ I said, ‘Yeah,’” recalled Karen Cordoba, 19. “They said, “You’re the one who saved my life.’ It was a complete stranger. I didn’t know who he was. He just came up and gave me a hug and said thank you so that really made me feel amazing.”
“Most of my friend would be, ‘You know what…I’m really tired of working.’ They’re like they flip burgers all day and I’m just like, ‘I saved some kid’s life today.’ You can’t compete with that,” said Jeremiah Bonner, 18.
Fifteen city pools and the beach at Eagle Creek Park will open on May 28 and June 4 and Indy Parks is still one hundred lifeguards short of full staffing, as are many private pools throughout the city.
“It's an outside job. You’re not stuck in an office inside of a building so I think being outside, you can’t get any better than that,” said Cordoba.
For more information on summer jobs at Indy Parks, click here.