Bad job market empties teens' pockets

Nov. 13, 2003, midnight | By Simona Danilovska | 17 years, 2 months ago

Employment opportunities for teens decline with economy

The "recent economic downturn" has been identified as the cause for the tough job market which may continue to worsen for young Americans between the ages of 16 and 24, according to a recent study.

The number of job opportunities Blair has to offer has drastically decreased in comparison to earlier years, according to Career Specialist Sharon Williams. "In a year's time we have more than 50 job announcements. This year we've had maybe five," she said.

Blair's reduction in job offers reflects that of the nation's, according to a study conducted by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University. "The estimated number of employed youth in the summer of 2002 was down about 900,000 from two years before," reads the study. The total shortfall in employment opportunities is 42 percent.

Williams said that due to the bad economy, companies and businesses are laying off employees who have held their jobs for a long period of time. Them downsizing has led adults to take jobs traditionally filled by youths. "Older adults are competing with teens for jobs. They have to support their families so they go to these jobs, some of which even teens turn their nose up at," she said.

Dee Rader, who heads Blair's Work Study Program, said that the majority of students who ask for her assistance actually need the jobs, rather than just want them. "Some [students] have to support their families. Others live on their own," she said.

Senior Daniel Garcia is one of the many Blazers who are in need of a job but cannot obtain one. Garcia's persistent efforts, which began last June, have not produced any results, leaving him unable to support his family. "I need a job to help out my mom. [She] struggles a lot so I feel she kind of needs me. I want to do my part," he said.

The economic downturn has also affected sophomore Segen Beshir, who has applied to at least six different places, none of which have responded. "I've tried very hard. I want to become responsible," she said.

Some Blazers, who have been fortunate enough to get a job, may face difficulties in the future, according to a Sept 25 Northeastern University article.

Senior Keturah Busey has already experienced some problems at Champs, where she has worked for three months. She said that her boss had to "cut hours" due to the bad economy. "[Now,] I only work one day for a $26 paycheck!" she said.

In an informal Silver Chips survey of 100 Blair students taken during the week of Oct 27, 47 percent said they currently have a job. Of those, 55 percent said their reason for working is for personal revenue, which in most instances helps Blazers make their car payments and independently purchase clothing. Senior Erika Wyatt has prepared herself for the consequences of being unable to get a job. "Now I have to pay for half of my car insurance, so as of next week I probably won't be driving," she said.

However, as the economy continues to decline, opportunities for internships are greatly increasing, according to Robert Hopkins, who assists students in obtaining unpaid internships. "Businesses aren't looking at resumes but at what you can do. They are looking for kids who can produce," he said.

Hopkins cited senior Jacob Shrybman as a student who is "getting opportunities because he followed his passion in life."

Shrybman has had two internships so far, one of which is working for the D.C. United soccer team, an experience he describes as "awesome. I don't even care about getting paid – this is worth more than a weekly paycheck," he said. Shrybman believes that this opportunity may allow him to be a professional soccer coach one day. "I'm trying to build my way up," he said .

Hopkins said that, despite current trends in the economy, there is still available work that can be done. "Their aspirations are higher than their abilities," he said of teens in general.

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Simona Danilovska. Simona Danilovska is a junior at Blair high school and a page editor for Chips, (a.k.a. the best newspaper in the world.) She was born on March 8, which makes her proud to be a Pisces =). Her favorite activities consist of checking her horoscope … More »

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