Cashing in on Summer Jobs

"It's a great opportunity for a youngster to get a taste of work, and I would encourage them to get out and do so this summer."

Trent Morris, Director for Workforce Solutions, says that you're legal to work at the age of 14, and there are still companies hiring for the summer.

Trent says, "W
hat we see typically for youth during the summer are grocery stores. They typically hire teenagers around 16, 17 years of age. I still notice some of the swimming pools with help wanted signs."

He also says the summer is a great time to test your entrepreneurial skills.

""There might be a lot of work around the neighborhood without going and applying for a job. I just encourage youngsters still looking for work, things like mowing lawns up and down their neighborhood or snowcone stands or maybe baby sitting for the neighbors."

Making a good first impression on the potential employer is key to landing the job.

"The main thing that they need to understand is to dress appropriate for the job. Make sure that the employer understands that when you clock in you're there to work and you're not there to socialize. Make sure you make good eye contact and you shake their hand and you tell them when you're available, but it's really important that we put the phones away, and that we focus on work and we understand what the priorities are for that employer and we impress upon them that we are going to be dependable and reliable," Trent says. 

Trent also says that starting to work at an early age gives young people an opportunity to try different jobs before making a full-time career commitment. Workforce Solutions offers a summer program that lets youth get experience and training in their occupation of interest.

"We let them work for 8 weeks and they get to come here and earn money, and we get the advantage of training them and hope that when they're looking for a permanent job, they come to us," says Pam Thomas, Marketing Director for Heritage Nursing Center. They work directly with Workforce Solutions on its Summer Youth Program, and helps students, like Cierra Ellison, prepare for her future.

"Right now I'm doing the summer internship, and it's helping me because I'm going to be a nurse and to get involved with CNA. It just helps you know that's where you want to go in your career and that's where you want to start," says Cierra.

Trent says, "Working when you're a youngster is really important-- that we get a taste of what the real world is about and understand what our passion is and what our interests are, and that those jobs stop when we get out of high school."

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