My teenagers want to work this summer – if they can find jobs. Any ideas about how they can find work when there is so much unemployment?
Mother of Teens
Dear Mother of Teens.
Teens are a vulnerable group when it comes to summer jobs. They have to plan and be very aggressive in the search. Here are some tried and true suggestions.
The Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) under the auspices of the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development is a major source of summer jobs in New York City. Seven-week jobs are open to kids as young as 14. Wages are $7.25 per hour for up to 25 hours per week and include entry level jobs in government agencies, hospitals, summer camps, nonprofits, small businesses, law firms, museums, sports enterprises, and retail organizations. Authorized community-based organizations actually run SYEP programs, provide applications, job placements and payroll for the SYEP participants. Check out which organizations –you have to submit your application to one of them—and download an application. You can also call 1-800-246-4646 or 311 to find out where you can pick it up in person. Applications are due May 18th.
Enterprising teens can also approach neighborhood and chain stores to see if they need extra help to fill in for summer vacationers; ask neighbors for baby-sitting job; advertise to run errands and do odd jobs for neighbors.
There are many more volunteer jobs than paid ones but they provide good experience and can lead to paid employment later on. At Network for Good, you will find volunteer jobs at places like libraries, parks and social service agencies. You have to be persistent -- keep checking the website because the jobs are listed as they become available. Or, check out day care centers and community centers in your neighborhood. Often they need volunteers to help out and to fill in for staff on vacation. Use the Department of Youth and Community Development website to locate day care and community centers and other groups that may have a place for you.
NOTE: Kids ages 14-17 must get a certificate of employment, usually referred to as working papers, for most jobs. You can pick up the application at high schools – but call ahead to make sure a school has them. The New York State Department of Labor has details. As a rule, you do not need to have the certificate in hand until you get a job, but you should begin to assemble the documents which include medical clearance and parent permission.
Finally, take a look at Insideschools' Free Programs to discover a host of other opportunities , including some that are year-round but include a summer component.
Here's to a productive summer!