Hiring shortage impacts Extended Day Program


Andrew Burke-Stevenson

Senior Sophie Levitt and junior Myra Malkic interact with a student during Extended Day, a program that offers child-care during before and after school hours for Nursery 3 through eighth grade students.

Audrey Park, Reporter

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a hiring shortage for the Laboratory Schools Extended Day Program, so staff have turned to U-High students as part of the solution.

The Extended Day Program offers child-care during before and after school hours for Nursery 3 through eighth grade students. Audrey Hampton, director of family life programs, oversees the Extended Day Program and emphasized the significant effect the pandemic had on the program. The program had to increase staff and restrict activities.

“We have not received the same number of résumés that we would typically receive, and that has significantly caused challenges for us at the beginning of this year in order to understand how we were going to run the program,” Ms. Hampton said. 

While all high school positions have been filled, spots are still open to University of Chicago graduates and undergraduates with an entry-level rate of $15 per hour. Ms. Hampton predicts that with time, the need to hire more high school students will re-emerge. 

“U-High students who are currently working for us might be unable to work with us in the future due to the start of different sports and other clubs,” Ms. Hampton said. “Anyone who is interested in possibly working with us in the wintertime should reach out to us directly and we will communicate to you all on how you might be able to assist us at that point.”

Ms. Hampton believes the staffing shortage is due to the demand for similar occupational positions.

“Everyone including neighboring schools are looking for similar positions, and so we are competing for the same people and services, which is difficult when deciding how much to pay someone for an entry-level position like the Extended Day Program,” Ms. Hampton said.

Seven high school students and approximately 20 Lab employees are helping out with the program. 

Senior Tona Martinez started work when the program began for the year on Sept. 13. 

“I chose to work with the Extended Day Program because I love working with younger kids and it is good for me to help with this worker shortage right now,” Tona said.

Ms. Hampton conveyed her appreciation for those assisting with the program.

“There is no way we would be able to start on Monday without the help from everyone,” Ms. Hampton said. “The community really came together to make sure we were able to provide this really essential service that many rely on in order for their households to run.”