In an effort to increase diversity among its lifeguards, Phoenix, Ariz., is launching an effort to hire more African Americans and Latinos for the positions — even if the candidates aren’t strong swimmers. “We will work with you in your swimming abilities,” said a department official at a recruiting event at a local high school.
“The kids in the pool are all either Hispanic or black or whatever, and every lifeguard is white, and we don’t like that,” said another official, who cited a language barrier as one of the city’s concerns. The city’s aquatics department also hopes that hiring minority lifeguards will encourage more kids to learn how to swim.
Over the past two years, Phoenix has raised $15,000 in scholarships for lifeguard-certification courses for minority candidates.