The dog days of summer are still months away.

But around the East Valley, parks and recreations departments are posting their “help wanted” signs (albeit on the Web).

Last week, Gilbert started its online recruitment for the aquatics department. Each summer, hundreds of kids enroll in swim lessons or swim team and more take advantage of public pools to escape the heat.

But because of the economy, or because people just enjoy the work, many of the 80 to 100 positions the past few years have been filled by returning summer employees, said Gilbert’s aquatics director Sean Carlin.

“It’s a pretty competitive process to begin with and with the economy we seem to be holding onto part-timers a little longer. About 80 percent are returning,” Carlin said.

Mesa’s job listings went up late last month. The parks and recreation department hires life guards, swim instructors, recreation assistants, pool managers and more.

Typically, about 80 people are hired, but this year that number may be higher, said Talona Felix, a human resources analyst for Mesa. “This summer we anticipate hiring over 100 seasonal staff member. This number is increased from last year because we are staffing Skyline Aquatic facility for the first time,” she said through an e-mail.

A new city pool will open later this spring at Skyline High School. Eligible applicants – screened by the city – will be invited to participate in a skills test April 9.

Felix said the city may see as many as 800 applicants for positions. Many are high school or college students, but some are teachers seeking summer employment.

Summer camps also mean summer jobs. Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley hired 25 summer employees for all their locations last year, said spokeswoman Mindee Padilla.

“We just didn’t have enough registrations to hire more people even though our camp is the least expensive in town. We assume it’s because parents are at home so they’re not sending their children to camp,” she wrote in an e-mail.

But this year, “We’re absolutely looking to hire,” Padilla said. Job openings should be listed in April.

Chandler’s website lists temporary - read “summer” - job openings, including lifeguards and pool managers. Applications are due next week.

Private companies that pick up business in summer are gearing up for hiring as well. Mesa’s Golfland Sunsplash will hold its annual summer job fair on March 26. According to the website, more than 100 jobs will be open, from lifeguards to food service to customer service admissions jobs. But don’t expect to slack off for a “summer job” interview: Khaki pants and a collared shirt or blouse are recommended.

Teens who want to learn about real work may get a step ahead through Chandler’s “Leaders in Training program,” which pairs students with city employees for six weeks.

“Teens are placed in actual work environments within the City of Chandler and gain experience and learn about real jobs. For example, if an applicant is interested in becoming a firefighter, he or she would be placed with the Chandler Fire Department and receive hands-on experience in their career of choice,” wrote recreation coordinator Teofilo Ruiz.

Other cities also have summer volunteer opportunities available.

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