SAN ANTONIO – Local theme parks and water parks are struggling to get their young workforce back on the job as they gear up for the busy summer season, and they’re facing some setbacks.
James Kinney, vice president of Splashtown San Antonio, says they’re not ready for the big opening of the park this weekend, but crews are working hard to get there.
“The (February) freeze just did a number on this place. As you can imagine, we’re a 37-year-old water park, so a lot of broken pipes,” Kinney said.
Kinney says the water park hires about 300 people every summer, but they’re not anywhere near where they need to be.
“We may end up staggering some rides,” he said.
Kinney said the applicant pool is not as full as it typically is by this time of year. He’s getting an early start on hiring, but everyone in the industry faces the same issue.
Jeff Filicko, with Six Flags Fiesta Texas, says it’s a highly competitive environment for employers with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s a wide variety of positions across the park,” he says. “We also have higher-paying positions with a guaranteed number of hours. So if you’re looking at earning at least 32 a week, we can fill that position for you at a higher pay rate and even give you limited benefits included in that.”
Fiesta Texas hopes to talk up the job perks and benefits to draw in applicants.
Aaron Martinez, marketing manager for Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, says his park has also increased the pay and offer bonuses for prospective employees. They’re in dire need of lifeguards and housekeepers. About 1,700 staff are needed seasonally.
As the staffing increases, Martinez says customers will see more things open up.
“Maybe this season it’s not going to be the most revenue-generating season in our history, but we are going to do what it takes to make sure that we are in it for the long run and that our guests know Schlitterbahn is here to stay,” he said.
All park officials KSAT interviewed say COVID-19 protocols will continue.
Kinney says there are some hesitations by some families to allow their teens to work this summer. But this could give other folks looking to make fast, easy money a chance to do so.
“We’re all hiring, and we’re hoping they answer the call and start coming out,” Kinney said.
Here’s where you can apply.