SEASIDE HEIGHTS — Management at Casino Pier and Breakwater Beach have a lot of work to do from the beginning of February and into summer: Grow their winter staff of about 50 employees into a team of 600-plus.

With less than two weeks to go before the boardwalk pier opens to the public on weekends, about 100 positions still need to be filled. Current openings include ride operator, games attendant, food service and more. The waterpark, set to open Memorial Day Weekend, still needs lifeguards, ride attendants and people willing to play the role of the park's mascot, Slider.

"We would prefer to have home-grown talent, but with the amount of jobs we need in such a short span ... its just impossible to get that many seasonal workers to pull from the local area," said Lou Cirigliano, the pier and waterpark's director of operations.

They supplement local talent with international students.

Lou Cirigliano
Lou Cirigliano, director of operations for Casino Pier and Breakwater Beach in Seaside Heights (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)

Cirigliano was on site for a weekend-long March job fair inside Casino Arcade, where interested applicants were offered on-the-spot interviews. Within the first hour, jobs for 14- and 15-year-olds were already filled.

Following a quick interview, Toms River resident Joshua Cocanower, 14, was awarded the job of ticket taker at Breakwater Beach. He applied online before attending the job fair, which helped him get ahead of the in-person rush.

On his way out of the job fair, 16-year-old Robert Kelly, of Toms River, was almost certain he nabbed a ride operator position.

"I was hoping to be working outside because it's nicer outside in the summertime," he told New Jersey 101.5. "I like to deal with the people and I get to be at the boardwalk, which is probably my favorite place in this town."

Kimberly Ryder, 30, who moved to Seaside Heights in December, was hoping to land a server job somewhere on the boardwalk.

"I need the extra cash; it would really come in handy. I'm a single mom," she said.

Beyond this initial search, the pier and park typically through another hiring push in mid-May, according to Cirigliano.

Much further down the Garden State Parkway, Morey's Piers in the Wildwoods has the task of hiring about 1,000 seasonal positions.

According to human resources manager Trish Lyons, plenty of applications are coming in for summer help, but the struggle is finding applicants who are willing to work during the shoulder season months of April, September and October.

"We're looking to hire a lot of positions right now," Lyons said. "For all these positions, we provide training on-site. So if something appeals to you, definitely apply for it."

Five miles from the boards, in Rio Grande, the hunt is on at Menz Restaurant & Bar for servers, bartenders and kitchen help. The family-run eatery opens for the season Mar. 31.

Megan Menz, dining room and service bar manager, said the majority of staff is local, but the restaurant also attracts applicants who vacation in Cape May County for the summer.

"Some are here at family homes and to some we are just a stepping stone to their future career while they are on summer break," she said.

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