Summer Jobs Hard To Come By For Young People

By: Parrish Alleman Email
By: Parrish Alleman Email

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Summer jobs are hard to come by for a lot of young people. Last July, only half of people between the ages of 16 and 24 were employed.

The unemployment problem is hitting young Kansans hard too.

Once school lets out, a lot of young people hit up businesses and restaurants looking for a few months' work. A local workforce representative says because of tough economic times, there's not that many open jobs left no matter what age you are.

For a 16 year old, Nicholas Showalter is pretty eager to do chores around the house. It's his only source of a summer income right now.

"I've gone to grocery stores, fast food restaurants, hardware stores, just everything around the area,” Nicholas Showalter said.

He's filled out about 15 applications. So far, he's had zero job offers.

"I didn't really expect that I'd get a call from all of them but I expected at least a few to call me for an interview for something,” Showalter said.

Amanda Duncan with the Wichita Workforce Center says the reason young Kansans like Showalter are having a tough time finding jobs is times are tough for adults too.

"When the economy took a downturn in 2008 and 2009, a lot of jobs that are typically open to youth were filled by adults laid off from other occupations,” Amanda Duncan with the Wichita Workforce Center said.

She says besides not having money in their pockets, unemployed teens are missing out on something even more valuable.

"They're lacking those soft skills you get in the first or second job you may have had when you were a teenager. So you're getting 20-year-olds who have never worked before because they've not been able to find an entry level job,” Duncan said.

Nicholas Showalter is still searching. Even though his resume is technically blank, he says he just wants the chance to join the work force for the first time.

"I feel like I have it in me to do the work, I just need someone to give me the opportunity,” Showalter said.

The Wichita Workforce Center suggests besides just applying at the larger, chain stores; look around at the small, locally owned businesses.

Also, Duncan says young people can beef up their resume in the meantime by volunteering or interning.

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