Teens struggle to find jobs - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Teens struggle to find jobs

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MADISON (WKOW)—Summer is only a few months away and a lot of teens are search for summer jobs. But one study shows employment for teens is the lowest it’s been since The Great Depression.

According to a study by The Brookings Institute, the employment rate for teens plummeted from 44 percent in 2000 to just 24 percent in 2011.

“I just recently applied for Chuck E Cheese, Burlington and Walmart and hopefully I'll hear back from one of those places,” said 17-year-old Nayia Morris.

Nayia is looking for work, but so far she’s not finding many places hiring people her age. And her situation isn’t unique. The 2012 Dane County Youth Assessment showed 21 percent of high school kids were actively looking for a job but couldn’t find one.

“Madison is very much and Dane County is very much a college town,” said Ronnicia Johnson-Walker, the TOPS Program Manager at The Boys and Girls Club. “So not only are they competing with other students at their same age, but they're also competing with college students.”

Ronnicia Johnson-Walker runs the Boys and Girls Club Teens of Promise Program, which help teens, like Nayia, find career-oriented internships.

“High school students are still molding and shaping and therefore if you can give them experience they may find an interest in something they never knew they had an interest in,” Johnson-Walker said.

Nayia is in the TOPS program and she says she hopes to find an internship or job geared toward her career goal—social work.

“I don't want to be your average teenager and work at fast food but it seems like that's all that's available,” Nayia said. “I really wanna work with kids.”

The Boys and Girls Club hopes to connect at least 50 students with summer internships, and Nayia says she’ll continue to fill out any and every application.

“I'm gonna keep looking and applying and hopefully get a call back.”

The Boys and Girls Club already has internship spots secured at places like UW Hospital and clinics and the Madison Children’s Museum. But they are looking for more employers willing to offer high school internships.

Employers with opportunities should contact Ronnicia Johnson-Walker at rjohnson-walker@bgcdc.org or  608.661.4754.

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