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UNC Health Blue Ridge announced at the end of September that it was turning over the management of Phifer Wellness Center come November.
That’s when the center will become Phifer Family YMCA and will be operated by YMCA of Catawba Valley.
The employees of Phifer Wellness Center will lose their jobs, which has caused some disappointment among patrons and employees. But officials with the hospital and YMCA have said they employees have the opportunity to apply for a job with Phifer Family YMCA.
“While it is a good business decision for our healthcare system, we realize some of the staffing challenges were not ideal. All of the Phifer teammates had the opportunity to discuss employment with the YMCA,” said Jon Mercer, chief operating officer for UNC Health Blue Ridge. “We appreciate their excellent work and contributions over the years and it was a difficult decision that was not made lightly. We are excited about the new programs that the YMCA will bring to our community. Moving forward, the Phifer Family YMCA will staff the facility as needed based on the multiple programs the Y will be bringing to the facility. We hope you will see the value of the YMCA to our community.”
UNC Health Blue Ridge said it has one part-time and five full-time employees currently working at Phifer Wellness Center but the health care system would not comment on what those employees are paid.
It appears the jobs for Phifer Family YMCA will be mostly part-time positions.
A search on NCWorks.gov found 10 job openings for Phifer Family YMCA including for part-time group exercise instructor and a personal trainer with the pay range at between $25 to $30 an hour, and a part-time Cross Fit instructor with a pay range at between $25 to $35 an hour.
One part-time child watch attendant also is available with a pay range of between $10 to $15 an hour. And positions for part-time members service associate and a lifeguard both have a pay range of between $12 to $15 an hour.
Nat Auten, president and CEO of YMCA of Catawba Valley, said the YMCA works relentlessly to strengthen communities, starting with its staff team. He said there will be a combination of both full- and part-time positions and he sees that expanding in the future.
“During transition, any existing staff person is given priority for job opportunities and we have found ways to retain staff who are seeking those opportunities within the YMCA,” Auten said. “In the coming days we will announce members of our staff team, which include current Phifer Wellness Center employees.”
He said any current staff who would like to learn more about employee opportunities should reach out to Kara Cloninger via email at [email protected].
“We are working now to retain team members who are excited about the opportunities to expand programs and serve others,” he said.
Auten said other employment benefits for part-time workers include:
Benefits for full-time staff include:
Auten said it is the YMCA’s desire to maintain all existing programs at Phifer including but not limited to Cross Fit/functional training, racquetball, aquatics, group exercise and facility access and they are working daily to ensure a smooth transition for members/guests. He said new programming will be phased in over time to complement existing programs and to fulfill needs identified in a recent feasibility study. He said new benefits that will be provided immediately to members/guests:
Auten said he hopes to create more kid-friendly areas and start offering a large selection of programs to members. He said other programs he can envision bringing to the Phifer Family YMCA over time are:
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