Teens face tough summer job market

But several businesses in St. Charles hiring

Teens in St. Charles Parish will have to make looking for a job a full-time job if they hope to land one of those coveted positions this summer.

Because of the recession, landing summer jobs has been extremely difficult for teens for the last three years. In fact, only 1,154,000 teen workers were added by employers nationwide between May and July of 2008. It was the fewest number of teen hires since 1954, and things have only slightly improved since then.

But several businesses in the parish said that they are indeed looking to add workers during the summer. One of those businesses, Rotolo’s Pizzeria in Destrehan, actually held a job fair on Saturday where the co-general managers took job applications and interviewed those that applied.

“We’ve had a lot of interest from teens,” general manager Travis Reynolds said. “We are probably looking to hire two workers for the kitchen and two for service.”

Domino’s Pizza in Destrehan said that they are also hiring this summer.

“We are currently looking for drivers,” manager Judy Walters said. “We have had some older people come in and turn in applications, but most have been from teens.”

Dot’s Diner manager Brad Colomb said that his restaurant is hiring, but that he has had only a few students turn in applications.

“I think a lot of them are probably trying to get their vacations out of the way,” he said.

The Popeye’s in Boutte and the McDonald’s in Luling are also taking applications and will be hiring throughout the summer.

But just because those businesses are hiring doesn’t mean it’s easy for most teens to find a job. In fact, some summer workers applied for their current jobs months in advance.

St. Charles Parish Public Schools uses several student workers in various departments, but all of those jobs have been filled, according to spokeswoman Rochelle Cancienne-Touchard.

“The best bet would be to apply for one of the summer positions when school starts,” she said. “We are looking for students who really show an interest in whatever department they are applying to.”

Winn-Dixie in Luling also has all the summer workers the grocery needs, as does The Basketry, which relies on college workers.

“All of our college girls are off school for the summer so they fill all of the hours,” owner Kristi Brocato said.
So while there are signs the economy is improving, it is still hard for teens to find employment.

“Consumer spending has been on the rise and the last three months have seen net hiring gains by the nation’s employers,” according to John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., which provides job-search training to people who were laid off by their employers. “Unfortunately, the improvements have been slow to develop and finding a job is by no means easy, particularly for the youngest job seekers.”

Challenger said that teens are not only competing with each other for available positions, but they are also competing with recent college graduates and job seekers who have two or more years of on-the-job experience and are willing to take almost any position with a steady paycheck.

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, most teens tend to gravitate to the food service industry and retail sales when landing a job. Challenger said that teens need to get “off the beaten path” and instead try to find a job in heavy labor.

While some of the options Challenger mentioned include working for parish government, those jobs fill up very quickly, according to parish spokeswoman Renee Simpson.

“We hire student workers in the summer for maintenance work and even some office work. The animal shelter also hires student workers for the summer,” she said. “However, those jobs are all filled. Most of the time they are filled two to three months before summer begins.”

Simpson said any teen looking for a job with the parish next summer should turn in their application in January or February.


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.