City offers incentives for new lifeguards

Courtesy city of Grand Rapids

The city of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department is offering free lifeguard certifications and raising its wage for the 2022 pool season.

American Red Cross lifeguard certification courses are planned for February, March and April. Those ages 15 years and older who agree to work at one of the city’s three public pools during the 2022 season are eligible to enroll for free.

In addition to waiving the $250 course fee, the city is raising its starting lifeguard wage from $11.25 to $14 per hour.

Those who pass the course must work at a city pool located at Briggs Park, 324 Knapp St. NE; Martin Luther King Park, 1200 Franklin St. SE; or Richmond Park, 963 Richmond St. NW.

Classes will be held at the Salvation Army Kroc Center at 2500 S. Division Ave.

  • 4-8 p.m. Feb. 25, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Feb. 26 and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 27
  • 4-8 p.m. March 18, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. March 19 and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. March 20
  • 4-8 p.m. April 22, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. April 23 and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. April 24

Parks and Recreation Director David Marquardt said the changes were implemented as part of the city’s efforts to recruit seasonal workers in a more equitable way.

“The cost of taking a test or certification should never be the reason someone can’t become a lifeguard at one of our pools,” Marquardt said. “We want to employ lifeguards who are passionate about serving our community, no matter their current financial circumstances.”

Registration is required for courses.

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