Summer jobs will be competitive again

By Heather Sullivan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - If you are a teen or college student looking for a summer job, it's going to be another tough year. High unemployment means young people will again compete with professionals who are looking for work, too.

This summer, jobs are expected to be a little more plentiful than they were last summer, but still very competitive.

Last summer, stimulus money provided 320,000 summer jobs for young people nationwide. But most of that money is gone now. And again youth will compete with the experienced. But they can set themselves apart.

Said Jana Carter with the Juvenile Services Department, "Let employers know they are eager, that they do have a work ethic, that they know how to conduct themselves in a job and that they capitalize on the experience they do have, which may not always be paid experience."

Carter says emphasize skills developed through extracurricular activities, sports, and volunteer work.

"Not dwelling too much on what my pay is going to be, and what kinds of work schedule I'm going to have. Just displaying that attitude of 'I am willing to work. I'm willing to do what it takes.'"

Congress is considering another $600 million for state and local youth jobs programs, but its not expected to pass anytime soon.

The City of Richmond's Summer Works Initiative hopes to place hundreds of teens in summer jobs by encouraging businesses to hire them for a small federal tax break. Said Dr. Carolyn Graham with the City of Richmond, "We're calling upon businesses ... to support our young people in their aspirations to become involved workers and new leaders."

Young people who don't land a job can still put their summer to use by interning. Said Carter, "There are volunteer opportunities out there. There are organizations that look for volunteers. And oftentimes that can be an open door to getting a paying job."

So where can young people find jobs? Experts say the service sector: healthcare, retail, amusement parks, hotels, restaurants. Ask family friends who may work for a company looking for summer help. Start your own business: babysitting, cleaning or lawn mowing. Visit your school career center for job listings.

Check out summer job boards on and lists internship opportunities.

And you need to start applying now!

(c) 2010. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.