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Gov. Polis announces program to train lifeguards

A lifeguard shortage led to limited hours at many Colorado pools last summer.

DENVER — With outdoor pool season fast approaching, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has announced a program to help local governments train lifeguards.

A severe shortage of lifeguards last year forced many public pools to significantly cut back on their hours.

At a press conference Monday at the Northglenn Recreation Center, Polis said the program builds upon a similar initiative to keep pools open last summer.

This year, however, the emphasis will be on training lifeguards.

The grant program is open to any local government in Colorado that operates public pools.

All they have to do is apply for a grant and, if they're accepted, the state will pay up to $20,000 per jurisdiction to train lifeguards.

Without this program, people would have to pay about $500 out of their own pockets to be trained.

The governor said he's hoping the program will help ease the labor shortage at public pools.

"We've been hearing from so many park districts and cities across the state that have had to limit their pool hours just because they don't have enough lifeguard and support staff," Polis said. "So we want to address that head-on before we get to the heat of summer so the pools can extend their hours and give everybody the opportunity to swim and have fun."

The governor has set aside about $260,000 for the program. The window for local governments to apply for the grants is a narrow one. It closes at 5:00 this Friday afternoon.

The governor's office said decisions on the applications will be made by May 26, just before most outdoor pools open for Memorial Day.


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