Special Report: Teens and Summer Jobs

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KIMT NEWS 3 – 17-year-old Justin Hampton is no stranger to hard work.

Hampton said, “About when I was 15, I decided to detassel, for DY Detasseling.”

After his stint detasseling corn, Justin worked at a local grocery store, but then not too long ago, made a drastic switch in his work environment.
He said, “I decided to go to Comprehensive Systems, taking care of special needs, people, kids, adults, you name it. Better pay rate, better hours, and it’s just a lot more fun.”

For many young people, summer means, going to county fairs.
or hitting the lake.

But for Justin, working with special needs individuals is something he’s passionate about.

He said, “I love my job. You work with people who need it. They can’t do it by themselves, so you have to help them with every day living styles, you wake them up in the morning and you put them to bed at night.”

And as much as Justin loves working for Comps, his motivation pretty much stemmed from the same reasons most teens pick up a job.

Hampton said, “I needed money, gotta pay for stuff. I wanted a phone, a nice phone…gas.”

And he’s not alone. According to “Minnesota Workforce Development” youth counselors, the time for teens to start hunting for those summer jobs is now.

And turn’s out, they’ll actually have to fight for those positions.

Minnesota Workforce Development Youth Program Coordinator, Marg Kuethe said, “Because of the recession, youth lost a lot of those entry-level jobs. They went to adults who had been laid off, so they’re going to have to work really hard to get those back.”

On the bright side, certain fields are showing promise.

Kuethe said, “Right now, hospitality and customer service positions are the biggest entry-level positions for young people.”

But what if you’re applying for your first job ever? Marg says those individuals need to lean on any past experiences.
Kuethe said, “Maybe it was some babysitting or a paper route or maybe it was some volunteer activities in their community. I encourage people to go out and volunteer, just to get some work history.”

Now actually landing the job can be the tricky part.

Here’s some of Marg’s top tips for nailing an interview.

First, you need to dress for success.

Make sure to look your interviewer in the eye and be enthusiastic when you speak.

It’s also helpful to bring a resume, just in case.

Next, know the job requirements and lastly, be honest about how long you intend to work for the business.

And the research part is very important.

Kuethe said,”It’s hard to convince the employer that you want work there if you don’t know what they do there.”

Most employers don’t expect teens to come to a job interview dressed in a three-piece suit, but for one local business owner known for hiring young employees, it’s all about that first impression. And most importantly, playing to your strengths and weaknesses in the workplace.”

Co-Owner of Ge-Jo’s By the Lake, Pat Galasso said, “Say for instance you’re not an early riser and we have different schedules here at “Ge Jo’s.” You know you can come in at 9 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon and if you’re not an early riser, I need to know that so I can schedule you in the afternoon, because that makes it a much more comfortable situation for you.”

Co-Owner of Ge-Jo’s By the Lake, Pat Galasso hires 4 to 5 positions for teen workers each year and she’s knows how valuable they can be.

Galasso said, “They just bring a lot of energy and normally the high school students we hire will stay with us all the way through their college careers and so they’re usually here 4,5,6 summers working the season.”

Pat says, her employees are gaining so much more than just some extra cash.

She said, “You’re learning how to communicate, you’re learning how to work in teams, you’re learning conflict resolution, all of it.”

And those life skills are like building blocks for joining the working world.

Kuethe said, “An employer just wants to know that you’re able to get to work on time, communicate well with your co-workers, be a good team member and serve the customer well.”

Ideally a job would be like a foot in the door for a possible career, but sometimes it’s about baby steps.

Kuethe said, “Initially they just need some good positive work experience and build off of that. After 2 or 3 summers of work experience, you might be able to tailor-make it more to something that is going to be a long-term career for you.”

For Justin, he doesn’t think working at “Comps” will turn into a career, but he has a few tips for first time job seekers.

He said,”I have a few friends that work the pool in the summer and if you want a starting job, I’d recommend a grocery store like bagging groceries or working at McDonald’s or working at Dairy Queen, any restaurant.”

And his best piece of advice: Find something you love truly love doing.

Hampton said, “If you want to have a job you like, you’re going to have to have fun with it. Life is what you make it and if you want to make it fun, I guess that’s your job.”

Online:

Iowa Workforce Development

Minnesota Workforce Development

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