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Westport Students Seek Summer Work With Town

Westporter Malcolm Wilson, a student at the University at Albany-SUNY, is home for the summer. Already, he's started his summer job with the Parks and Recreation Department as a guest services attendant at Compo Beach.

"This is my third year back" in the job, Malcolm said, after checking a temporary beach parking pass Monday afternoon.

During the summer, the Parks and Recreation Department hires a lot of seasonal staff, Director Stuart McCarthy said. Some of the most popular positions include lifeguards, camp counselors and guest services attendants, including Malcolm, who oversee admission to the town's beach parking areas.

"We have hundreds of positions to fill, and we get hundreds of job applications every year," McCarthy said. "But right now, because of the job market, we have a lot of returning staff. So while we have hundreds of jobs, we have few openings after we rehire returning staff."

Generally, McCarthy said well-performing seasonal employees are welcome to return. "Just like in any business, hiring experienced staff is an advantage," he said.

For students not lucky enough to have a previous job to return to, finding summer work may be tough. On top of having to compete against returning experienced staff, students looking for summer work aren't only competing against other students.

Historically, the lifeguard, camp counselor and guest services positions are filled by students, McCarthy said. But over the last couple of years, he said the department has seen an increase in the number of adults applying for those jobs.

Although the department doesn't hire only students, McCarthy said adults typically apply for senior staff, supervisory or seasonal maintenance positions. "With guest services, that season runs from May 1 through September, so it's helpful to have people on staff once all the kids head back to school," he said.

The summer hiring process begins about Jan. 1, and all positions are generally filled in March, McCarthy said. However, there is an employment waiting list for the department's two camps, as the number of hired employees is dependent upon enrollment.

"The lifeguards start work Memorial Day weekend but camp doesn't start until June 27, so we have some people waiting and hoping for a job," he said.

Do you have a job lined up for summer? Leave a comment below.

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