As Teen Job Market Suffers, So Do Teens

For many teens, their first dose of personal responsibility comes when they get their first job. The benefit of having a job, for a teen, is not just a monetary one; a job can open up new social circles, bolster self-esteem and create a sense of purpose. Most times a job outside of the home will be a teen’s first exposure to how other adults perceive them and will teach them how they are meant to conduct themselves in the professional world.

A recent article, published in the Washington Post, says that teenage jobs have become scarce these days. “U.S. labor figures show the 2011 unemployment rate nationwide averaged just below 9 percent, but for job-seekers ages 16 to 19, it was almost 25 percent — the third consecutive year in that range, and with some cities recording rates far higher.“  This is partially due to an increase in computer automation, which cuts out the need for first time workers to fill jobs at local car washes, photocopy shops and supermarkets.

In a response to this lack of available jobs and ultimately a lost opportunity for a critical learning experience, the Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Labor kicked off January 2012 with a campaign “appealing to the private sector to create 250,000 more summer jobs in businesses, nonprofits and government agencies, with at least 100,000 of them being paid spots.”  Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, said this initiative and others are critical to ensure teens get a chance to learn job skills and prepare for careers. “The phenomenon of youth unemployment is sweeping the world, not just Connecticut,” said Blumenthal, who credits his first job as a camp counselor with introducing him to mentors and the sense of pride and responsibility that work can instill.

As a business owner, ACS encourages you to reach out to the youth in your community this summer. Consider hiring a teen to answer the phones or file paperwork. Your interaction with them may entice them to investigate your profession and make it their own. Your intern today may be the next leader of their community in the tomorrow. At ACS, we welcome youth volunteers in the summer; introducing them to valuable administrative skills and the opportunity to observe the day-to-day operations of a non-profit. Past volunteers have made a career choice based on that memorable adolescent summer experience and have become practicing psychologists.

For more on the Washington Post article go to “US Teens struggle to find elusive part-time jobs, often competing with displace older workers.” posted online January 10, 2012

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One Response to “As Teen Job Market Suffers, So Do Teens”

  1. It’s really too bad… I wonder if the situation has gotten any better? I regret not working until I was in college. It’s amazing how much you can learn on the job, and starting as a teen helps you understand your strengths and passion early on.

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