By Joel Hillan

LONE TREE, Colo. (CBS4)– Colorado’s unemployment rate remains below the national average, which means potential workers have a lot of opportunities.

As the spring and summer hiring season approaches, competition for entry-level employees is heating up. The Good Times on East Colfax in Denver is hiring starting at $11.50 an hour.

hamburgers and cheeseburgers Want A Summer Job? Start Applying Now

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Competition for good employees is fierce.

“Right now we have over 100 positions posted, but we need to hire about 500 individuals,” said Lyna Alfaro, Human Resources for the South Suburban District.

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(credit: CBS)

For parks and recreation departments like South Suburban District, it’s a process to have to change wages to keep up with the market.

“It’s something that would have to be done strategically, long-term planning and it’s something that we would have to plan out for the next year so we are taking a different approach,” said Alfaro.

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Lyna Alfaro, Human Resources for the South Suburban District (credit: CBS)

Part of that approach is to appeal to details of the job that aren’t necessarily focused on money.

“It’s fun, you get to be outside, you get to work with kids and act silly, run around, be active and enjoy working in a community with a lot of great people in it,” said Sarah Nielsen.

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Nielsen played basketball in the South Suburban District in the 3rd and 4th grade and then was hired seasonally in 2005. Now she works full time as the Recreation Coordinator.

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Sarah Nielsen (credit: CBS)

“Parks and Recreation is great because it’s really broad, you can work for a district and have all different capacities, so you could be a recreation coordinator or you could work in the marketing department or you could work on the parks and trails or you could be an aquatics coordinator, there’s just a lot of different opportunities that people can apply themselves in and it’s not just doing sports, necessarily, there’s also other options out there too,” said Nielsen.

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(credit: CBS)

The hope is to lure in workers so the places where people like to play will be open when they expect them to be.

“We are anticipating that we won’t have any cuts to our hours, especially to our pools for the summer, everyone wants to go to the pool for the summer,” said Alfaro.

parks and rec jobs 5pkg frame 1990 Want A Summer Job? Start Applying Now

(credit: CBS)

But that’s going to require hundreds of workers before the summer recreation season starts; something they hope to accomplish in part with a job fair on March 15.

They anticipate doing interviews and even offering positions at the career fair.

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(credit: CBS)

LINK: South Suburban Career website

South Suburban Career Fair

Joel Hillan anchors CBS4 This Morning on weekends as well as reports stories for CBS4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. Follow Joel on Twitter @joelhillan.

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