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Parks and Recreation will recruit youth for aquatic careers

Lifeguard Academy (267937)
Lifeguard Academy

In collaboration with Los Angeles Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis and Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation launched its Lifeguard Ready Training (LRT), a free program preparing youth and young adults ages 16 to 24 with the skills necessary to become Los Angeles County Swimming Pool Lifeguards.

Special emphasis will be placed on recruiting Black and Latino youth in the program and registration began Sept. 10.

“The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation is proud to launch the Lifeguard Ready Training Program that will make a significant investment in our youth of color in East Los Angeles and South Los Angeles,” said department Director Norma Edith García-González.  “We’re committed to addressing the underrepresentation of diversity in lifeguard careers.  We are excited about the opportunities to provide BIPOC and youth of promise summer jobs and a career ladder in aquatics and beyond. The intentionality behind the Lifeguard Ready Training curriculum and mentoring framework can serve as a model for our region.”

Starting September 27, the first of three-phases of the program will initiate with up to 40 participants who will receive 24-hours of training over 12 sessions. Successful candidates will have an opportunity to transition into a paid Lifeguard Cadet position. The program will run in Supervisors Solis and Mitchell’s districts at the Belvedere Aquatic Center in East Los Angeles and the Jesse Owens Park and Roosevelt Park Pools in South Los Angeles offering slots to a total of 120 participants in this first phase of the program.

“The Lifeguard Ready Training program will increase diversity in Los Angeles County’s lifeguard workforce while providing meaningful job opportunities for BIPOC youth, including those who are system-involved, inspiring them to explore careers in aquatics or with the County,” said Solis, Supervisor to the First District. “Programs like these open up career paths that our young people may not have considered before. To that end, I am proud of our ongoing efforts to provide opportunities for inclusive education and training to youth in communities of color.”

The LRT program will provide participants with all the equipment necessary to complete the program including swimsuits, towels, duffel bags, etc., with an estimated value of $600. Program participants are expected to attend all 12 training sessions. Trainees will be paired up with a group mentor who will also provide individual evaluations and support. Participants can also access lap swim hours at any of the County’s five year-round facilities and instructors will be available for assistance both before and after scheduled training days. Those who do not successfully complete the training at the initial phase of the program can automatically enroll onto the next LRT session or can choose to explore additional recreation career opportunities within the County.

“I’m proud to join with the Department of Parks and Recreation in engaging our school and community partners to make this enriching program more accessible to communities throughout the Second District. In addition to inspiring more Black and Brown youth to see themselves as lifeguards, this program helps equip them with the skills and resources to make it happen”, said Mitchell. “We’re working intentionally with community partners to increase diversity in the field of aquatics, provide life-saving swim skills to communities of color and to strengthen the talent pipeline of lifeguards so all residents can enjoy their county pool.”

Candidates will receive instruction in swim stroke development, basic water rescue and an introduction to first aid, CPR and AED. After the completion of the program, participants should be ready to successfully complete the County of Los Angeles Pool Lifeguard Training and can also attend the County of Los Angeles Lake Lifeguard examination and complete their training. The physical skill gained through this program can also be used to try out for the County of Los Angeles Beach Lifeguard examination.

The basic requirements to enroll in the program include being able to swim 500 yards in 9 minutes and 30 seconds or less and have at least 20/30 in each eye with correction and at least 20/200 with both eyes open without correction.