Bowling Green-Warren County Community Education, which provides before- and after-school child care for local students, is having trouble gearing up for the upcoming school year.

Bill Oldham, Community Education’s executive director, said the organization is struggling to hire a sufficient number of staffers for its programs.

Community Education would like to open as many before- and after-school programs as possible when public schools in Bowling Green and Warren County open Aug. 4 and 5, Oldham said. To do so, Community Education must meet Kentucky’s staff-to-child ratios.

“Like every other business owner, I don’t know why this is happening,” Oldham said. “It’s really easy to say that people are getting more money from unemployment (benefits). There might be other factors, too.”

Oldham said Community Education looks to a particular group to fill most of the staff openings.

“Our staff mostly consists of (Western Kentucky University) students, who aren’t in town yet,” Oldham said. “We’re making an effort to reach the broader community.”

WKU’s first day of classes will be Aug. 23, so Oldham is open to the possibility of bringing in retirees who are willing to commit a few hours to serving in a Community Education program.

“We’re open to hiring all sorts of people.” Oldham said. “This could be someone who would like to work in the morning or three to four hours in the afternoon.”

Community Education raised worker wages this year and is currently offering a hiring bonus plus an additional $150 bonus for those who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, Oldham said.

To apply for a Community Education staff position, people can visit www. commed.us/employment/.

Community Education’s hiring process includes a face-to-face interview and a background check. The organization will also contact an applicant’s listed references before the interview is conducted. Anyone who is at least 18 years old and has a high school or GED diploma can apply for a child care staff position, according to Erin Lightfoot, Community Education’s associate director for school-age programs.

Lightfoot said if applicants are interested in working with children in an after-school program, they can expect to pick up a shift that lasts from 2 to 5:30 p.m. or 3 to 6 p.m.

Staffers who work during a morning program have a shift that usually lasts from 6 to 8 a.m.

“You don’t have to apply for both a morning and afternoon program,” Lightfoot said. “You should choose what works best for your schedule.”