Why American Teens Need Summer Jobs

by Robinson, Marcia Thursday, February 09, 2012
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The economic downturn has made it very difficult for American teens to land summer jobs during the last few summers. Department of Labor reports show that at the height of summer hiring in July of 2011, the share of young people employed was at 48.8 percent. It was the lowest July rate on record since 1948.

In proposing the Summer Jobs 2012 initiative, President Obama said, "America's young people face record unemployment, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they've got the opportunity to earn the skills and a work ethic that come with a job. It's important for their future, and for America's."

In response, the US Department of Labor is working on the Summer Jobs 2012 program to encourage businesses, nonprofits and government agencies to create summer jobs for American teens.

While some American teens need summer jobs to help them buy clothes, entertainment, cover cell phone bills or do fun things, other high school teens need summer jobs to get absolute necessities. Some teenagers need summer jobs to help support families, buy food, get school supplies and clothing. For some teens getting a summer job equals survival in more ways than financial.

Whether or not a summer job helps teens with recreation or necessities, there are other really good reasons why American teens need summer jobs.

The Summer Job is Part of the American Tradition. Summer jobs for American teens are part of the very fabric of American culture. From bagging groceries, cutting lawns or working at the drive-in, American teens are always working summer jobs. For decades, summer movies like "Caddyshack," "Dirty Dancing" or "The Karate Kid" show the American teen having fun and in many cases holding down summer jobs.

American teens need summer jobs to help them develop the strong work ethic the country needs in every productive citizen. Summer jobs help American teens develop workplace skills like punctuality, time management and customer service.

Summer jobs help teens develop life skills. Summer jobs for American teens don't just help teens develop work skills. On summer jobs, teens learn valuable life skills like how to work on teams, diversity at work and how to resolve conflicts. Teens also learn about money management and what value really means.