Nebraska Game and Parks adjusts operations amid staffing shortage
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - As Memorial Day kicks off the summer season for state parks, Nebraska Game and Parks expects this season to look a little different will lower than usual staffing numbers.
Nebraska Game and Parks said this is the second season where operations have had to be altered due to lack of staffing. Game and Parks said they usually try to hire around 900 workers for the summer. This year, they’re a couple hundred short with only 700 employees.
Jeff Fields, the parks division administrator for Nebraska Game and Parks said like many workplaces, their agency is affected by low unemployment statewide, and industries competing for workers.
“Specifically on the east end around the Lincoln, Omaha area, Mahoney, Platte River State Parks are the two that are probably most significantly impacted,” Fields said. “Other parts of the state we’re doing, fingers crossed, we’re in pretty good shape.”
Fields said the positions that Game and Parks are working to fill include lifeguards, shooting range staff, housekeepers and concession workers.
He said to attract more candidates, starting pay for seasonal staff has been increased by more than 30%. Starting wages now range from $12 to $16 an hour, depending on the job and responsibilities.
“That has worked pretty well,” Fields said. “Due to the low unemployment rates we have right now and some of the competition we have with some of our urban areas, I think that’s affected us a little bit.”
Game and Parks said pool, shooting range and other amenity hours are reduced as a result of the worker shortage. Fields said they still plan to offer most activities people look forward to at Nebraska parks.
“It’s just a small percentage of things we’re going to have to tweak,” Fields said. “We’re doing a lot of great things.”
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