The Summer PALS program serves as a lifeline for working families but is in jeopardy because of staffing shortages.

Maui Mayor Richard Bissen announced Friday that the county’s child care workers will be seeing a pay raise starting June 1 — just in time for the start of one of the community’s most affordable summer programs.

Maui County locator map

In a news release, Bissen said the county will be raising pay next month in hopes of attracting more workers for the Summer PALS program, which stands for Play and Learn Sessions. The roots of the government-subsidized program trace back to the 1970s, but today its presence in some communities is threatened because of the lack of workers.

“With ongoing staffing challenges within the PALs program, especially in Lahaina and Lanai, it’s imperative that we are doing everything we can to ensure these programs continue to operate,” Bissen said in the release.

Summer PALS is one of the most affordable child care options in Maui County, costing as low as $64 for one child for the entire summer. Private summer camps can run hundreds of dollars just for a week. (Courtesy: Maui County)

In recent weeks, the Maui County Council unanimously agreed to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to raise workers’ pay in the county’s next annual budget, which starts July 1. The Bissen administration announced it would use some of the program’s unspent cash to cover the higher pay in the meantime. The county says hourly wages will be increased as follows:

  • Recreation aide from $15 to $20 per hour
  • Program specialist from $19.53 to $26.04 per hour
  • Recreation leader from $16.74 to $22.32 per hour
  • Recreation director from $20.93 to $27.91 per hour
  • Office coordinator from $23.72 to 31.63 per hour
  • Site coordinator from $23.72 to $31.63 per hour

The PALS program recruits for a wide range of workers from entry level high school students to supervisors with college degrees in education. For more information about the open PALS positions or to learn about other Maui County jobs, visit the county’s website.

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by a grant from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation.

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