BEND, OR -- Bend Parks and Rec says a new college scholarship incentive offered to employees of KIDS Inc is working to shore up staffing.
Communications and Community Relations Manager Julie Brown says students at OSU-Cascades or COCC get a $5,200 annual scholarship in addition to earning an hourly wage, “We anticipated and planned for having about 12 scholarships available this year, and we’ve exceeded that goal. We have 15 employees that are making use of it this year. Our hope is to be able to increase it and have 24 spaces next year.”
The program launched last summer, as a recruitment effort for the chronically understaffed after-school program.
Brown says it’s unclear how many will return next year or stay on after graduation, “If what we get is a committed employee for even the duration of time that they are in college, that is a win for us. It’s an investment in, not only these individuals, but also into the community. I think it enriches the program when we have students who may be interested in sciences or humanities. These are not necessarily students who want to go into Early Childhood Education.”
Brown says around 1,100 children participate, “For taking care of that many kids in KIDS Inc, we need between 80 to 90 staff members and it is a very specific part time job that has very specific hours, Monday through Friday. For college students, it can be an opportunity to get a nice scholarship and be able to have those nights and weekends free.”