The summer job hunt may be more difficult for El Paso youths this year because the federal government will not be providing money to employers to hire youths as it did the past two summers.
A $10 million federally funded program last summer provided 4,603 youths, ages 16-24, in El Paso and five nearby West Texas counties with summer jobs at 1,336 private- and public-sector employers. more than 4,000 of the jobs were in El Paso County.
The summer jobs program for youths from low- to moderate-income families had a “significant financial and social impact in our community,” said Lorenzo Reyes, CEO of Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande, which administered the federal jobs program in El Paso.
“More kids will be without a job this summer, especially with the way the economy is,” Reyes predicted.
The El Paso unemployment rate remains high, Reyes noted. It was 9.9 percent in February, the latest data available — higher than the Texas rate of 8.2 percent, and the national rate of 8.9 percent.
The summer youth jobs program created 373,671 jobs for youths nationwide the past two summers and used federal stimulus money to pay the youths’ wages, the U.S. Department of Labor reported. this year, that money is not available.
That’s why the Department of Labor launched a campaign last week to get private employers and government agencies to commit to hiring 100,000 low-income youths nationwide for summer jobs this year even though no federal wage subsidies are available, said David Roberts, a department spokesman in Washington, D.C.
Last week, only nine private employers with plans to hire 5,165 youths this summer were listed on the agency’s Web site devoted to the summer program (dol.gov/dol/summerjobs). It also had two federal agencies and the city of Boston listed with 30,000 summer jobs for youths.
“we expect the list to grow,” Roberts said. the list is a resource for local employment agencies and job hunters to use to find out who has summer jobs, he said.
McDonald’s wasn’t on the Labor Department list. but last week, the company announced it will hire 50,000 people of all ages nationwide for a variety of jobs during a national hiring day April 19. the 35 McDonald’s restaurants in El Paso plan to hire 279 people that day.
Richard Castro, who owns 20 McDonald’s in El Paso, said his restaurants will hire about 100 people April 19 for a variety of open jobs, and about 150 more for the summer season, when sales increase.
“April 19 is a focused effort to bring in applicants. on that day, we’ll have interviewing stations at our stores,” Castro said. that will be a good day for youths interested in summer jobs to apply, he said.
Many people look down at McDonald’s as having low-wage, dead-end jobs. but Castro said the critics don’t understand what goes on under the golden arches.
“we have an optimum training program that teaches new employees” about the world of work, Castro said. the jobs “build a lot of attributes that are important as people move forward with their schooling and professions.”
McDonald’s also provides opportunities for management jobs to people who want to make the business a career, he said.
The national McDonald’s president started as a crew member at a McDonald’s restaurant, Castro noted. two people who worked in Castro’s restaurants now own their own McDonald’s franchises, he said.
The national outlook for summer jobs for youths is mixed.
Challenger, Gray & Christmas inc., a Chicago outplacement consulting company, said it sees little improvement from last year, when the nation had its weakest summer job market in decades.
But SnagAJob.com, an online board for hourly paid jobs, reported that its summer jobs survey found 10 percent of hiring managers plan to increase summer hiring this year, and plan to offer higher wages than last year.
Last week, the SnagAJob Web site had 75 El Paso jobs listed for teenagers, 416 part-time jobs, and 394 full-time jobs. Some of the part-time jobs may be summer jobs even though SnagAJob had no El Paso jobs listed under the seasonal category. Only 59 seasonal jobs were listed for Texas.
Many retailers — including Sears, Kmart, Toys R Us, JC Penney and Marshalls — had El Paso openings last week, the SnagAJob Web site showed. Taco Cabana, Pizza Hut and Starbucks were on the list. the Dish Network call center had 27 part-time and 34-full-time openings that people at least 18 years old with a high-school diploma or GED could apply for, according to the SnagAJob list.
SnagAJob’s survey found that 43 percent of hiring managers with summer job openings expected to complete their seasonal hiring by April.
Pat Thomson, owner of Western Playland in Sunland Park, said the park has hired many of the 100 workers it needs for its summer season, which begins in mid-June. It is already open weekends.
“we usually start hiring in February. we get a lot of applications,” Thomson said.
the amusement park is a good way for teens to break into the job market because it hires people with no job experience, Thomson said.
Thomson’s staff looks for clean-cut, well-dressed and polite youths during the hiring process, he said. an outgoing personality is a plus, he said.
Wet ‘n’ Wild Water World is another traditional summer jobs post for El Paso-area youths.
It will hire about 250 youths this year, including about 150 as lifeguards, which require training classes held at the Upper Valley amusement park, said Chandra Edwards-Cottingham, the park’s general manager.
“It seems like we’re receiving more applications in the last couple of years. we already have 150 applications for lifeguards,” and 100 have signed up for the training, Edwards-Cottingham said. “the (high) unemployment rate may have something to do with it. but we have been doing more recruiting at high schools and colleges.”
The city of El Paso Parks and Recreation Department is another place youths can go each summer for jobs. It will hire about 195 youths for its swimming pools, Club Rec summer youth camps at several city recreation centers, and Midnight Basketball program, city officials reported.
“we start looking in January. Some years a lot of people (past employees) come back. this year, we’re hiring a lot of new people,” said Wright Stanton, the city aquatics manager. his biggest need is for 54 lifeguard positions. Those jobs require lifeguard certification and are open to 15-year-olds and up.
The Club Rec camps need 70 youth activities specialists. a high-school diploma and experience working with kids are required, said Joe Rodriguez, recreation services manager.
Many jobs may be found and applied for on the Internet. but John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said, going in person to talk to managers and finding out about job openings is a good way for a young job hunter to set himself or herself apart from the crowd.
“Many mom-and-pop stores do not advertise job openings on the Internet,” he noted in a written statement.
Youths also should consider self-employment, such as lawn care and home cleaning, Challenger said. Many families strapped for both cash and time may hire a teenager who can provide such services at a lower price than what service companies charge, he said.
“Most importantly, do not get frustrated by failure,” he said. Many teens may give up after applying for 10 or 12 jobs, he said. “It is necessary to cast a wider net” to be successful, he said. “There are many summer job opportunities outside the confines of the local mall.”
Vic Kolenc may be reached at ; 546-6421.
<a href="elpasotimes.com/living/ci_17810080?source=most_emailedtag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=elpasotimes.com/living/ci_17810080?source=most_emailedSun, 10 Apr 2011 14:22:52 GMT 00:00″>Summer jobs: Without federal funds, teen outlook bleak this year
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