Business and Economics

Summer Job Outlook Seems Good For Teens

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May 21, 2014 —

INDIANAPOLIS – With sunny skies and no classes, summer is the season many high school and college students look forward to the most. However, improvements in the economy could result in more Indiana teens taking advantage of new summer job openings instead of relaxing at home.

The influx of teens into the workforce is an encouraging sign to youth advocates. With jobs being added to key economic sectors, Indiana Youth Institute President Bill Stanczykiewicz said he believes teens will continue to benefit from an improved economy.

“About one fourth of (jobs created) were in the sectors called leisure and hospitality as well as retail sales,” Stanczykiewicz said. “These are the retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and types of places that typically hire teenagers, especially during the summer months. That’s where we’re seeing job growth both nationally and in the state. When you see that trend and those types of numbers, overall, it’s great news for teenagers.”

The improvement in job prospects for teens could not have come at a better time. According to a study by Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies, the number of teens holding summer jobs bottomed out at the lowest levels post-World War II between 2010 and 2012, falling from 52 percent in 2000 to roughly 30 percent during that timeframe.

This “lost decade” for teen employment has since improved, creating a greater demand from businesses that thrive during the summer rush. One such business is Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Company in Indianapolis. The restaurant’s assistant general manager, Russ Chargualaf, said he expects to hire 12 to 15 teen employees for this summer. That figure marks the third consecutive year the business has increased its teen employment numbers after opening in 2011.

“We’ve not seen” the economic recession’s effect on hiring teens, Chargualaf said. “We’ve been on a constant actual increase…We continue to not only hire more, but we are also busier on a daily basis.”

Delaney Whitlock is one the teens hired to work this summer at Thr3e Wise Men. The Indianapolis high school senior said the experience should be a strong line on her resume in the years to come.

“I know it’s really hard to get a job, especially coming right out of college,” Whitlock said. “I hope to have a lot of experience under my belt to make me more marketable.”

Marketability isn’t the only thing teens are after. According to Stanczykiewicz, teenage employees can benefit from the lessons taught by the money they earn and the people they meet.

“They want the money. They want gas in the tank. They want to go to the movies,” he said. “But many other things are happening as well that, a lot of times, teens don’t even realize. One is they’re learning the so-called ‘soft skills’ that all employers are desperate to find in their respective employees. Punctuality. Dressing appropriately. Having a good attitude with colleagues and customers.”

The importance of those soft skills has been noted by many youth advocates including Rep. Andre Carson, D-Indianapolis. The representative hosted a job, internship, and summer program fair for students within his district.

Carson said he wants Hoosiers to “make an early investment” in Indiana’s youth. Carson said holding summer jobs or internships helps students experience personal and intellectual growth while keeping them from “making mistakes” during their free time.

The personal and professional growth seen in teenage employees is part of the reason Chargualaf said he enjoys his job. Although many teens will not make a career out of serving at Thr3e Wise Men, he said he hopes that their work experience will give them a chance to chase their larger career goals.

“I appreciate and enjoy every employee who comes through here as a teenager,” Chargualaf said. “I know this is not going to be their final job or final destination or final career, but I do enjoy being one of their stepping stones.” is a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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