Workforce Development Can Help Find Summer Jobs – Austin Daily Herald

Michael Postma

Workforce development area manager

School is out and summer is finally here. The students are thrilled to have completed another year of school and look forward to the freedom that summer provides. For many teens, that freedom involves summer jobs to earn disposable income. Summer work for teens has been a tradition for Americans for decades, but the number of teens entering the workforce has steadily declined over the years. According to Oriane Casale, deputy director of DEED, only 53.5% of young people aged 16 to 19 were in the labor market at the end of 2021. The good news for the 46.5% of unemployed adolescents, the Minnesota’s currently tight labor market provides them with an abundance of opportunities. These jobs pay higher wages and offer more flexibility than ever before.

Some of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic were those related to services. Restaurants, retail and hospitality have all seen an exodus of adult job seekers. As Americans’ appetite for travel and entertainment grows after two years of the pandemic, teens are poised to step in to fill those gaps. Restaurants, local retail store owners and entertainment venues are actively recruiting college students to handle their summer crowds. They’re ready to work around family vacations, sports practices, and group practices so teens can stay engaged in their favorite activities while working part-time.

At WDI, we have a variety of programs aimed at helping youth with barriers gain first-hand experience that can only come from your first job. In Rice and Mower counties, we have Workforce Academies where students learn soft skills employers need, such as punctuality, reliability and how to handle conflict in the workplace. work. After this week-long training, they are placed on community job sites like city parks and schools where they are paid to help with seasonal maintenance.

Across our 10-county region, WDI works with employers who are willing to welcome youth into WDI-paid work experiences. Our youth career planners place participants enrolled in these work experiences with local companies that provide supervision and workspace, while WDI pays their salaries through grants. This is a great partnership that allows young people to build confidence in their abilities, while connecting them with their local employers. Many employers hire these young people to continue working after the work experience is over.

In Olmsted and Rice County, WDI operates a Youthbuild program that allows students at alternative learning centers to earn course credit and earn hourly pay to serve on our Youthbuild construction teams. These students build picnic tables, sheds, planters, whatever their schools or communities need. This experience gives these students the confidence to pursue a business career after graduation.

In summary, if you are a teenager or have one in your life, today is a great day to explore work opportunities for this summer. Local businesses are eager to discuss their opportunities with you. If you would like assistance with your job search or would like to learn more about the WDI programs listed above, email us at (800) 543-5627 or [email protected]

WDI is a private, nonprofit organization that provides employment and training services to job seekers and employers throughout Southeast Minnesota. WDI has offices in each of the 10 counties in our region: Goodhue, Wabasha, Houston, Fillmore, Olmsted, Freeborn, Mower, Steele, Rice and Dodge. Please contact us:

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