Teens struggling to find work

Only 3 of 10 teens nationwide have jobs this summer
Teens struggling to find work

High unemployment figures are hitting teenagers hard, making for the worst job market for that age group since World War II.

Statistics show that just three out of every 10 teenagers nationwide have jobs this summer.

Numbers specific to Wisconsin aren’t available, but overall trends point to the same situation in the state.

But at least one local establishment is practically brimming with them.

Workers at Madison’s Vitense Golfland are navigating through the challenges of their first job, just as their customers are navigating through the challenges of Vitense’s multiple golf courses and climbing walls.

Caleb Baltes is a Verona High School senior in charge of keeping kids safe while they play “Water Wars.”

Teens struggling to find work

“Well, I get the money and stuff, but I also like working with the little kids and helping them out and stuff,” said Baltes. “This is a lot of fun working and interacting with people. I think it’s great.”

Baltes is just one of 65 teens working now at Vitense, a number that management says is the establishment’s highest ever.

“I think it’s a very social job, it’s fun to be here, it’s a fun place to be,” said Vitense vice president Sarah Weitz.

But even at Vitense, Weitz gets many more applicants than she has jobs.

She isn’t alone.

“There just aren’t the jobs out there,” said Madison College instructor Al Studesville. “We have college students and older adults who are competing with teens for jobs in order to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table, and to take care of their expenses.”

Studesville said teens need to network with their parents’ friends to find jobs, pointing out that teens should find opportunities which provide work for more than just one summer.

That’s just the sort of opportunity offered by Weitz.

“But what we try to do is have different jobs they can work up to, so maybe they’re supervisor of a crew or supervisor of a certain area,” said Weitz.

And while there aren’t many adult applicants asking for Caleb Baltes’s job, he says he’s happy to have it.

Studesville says that parents need to make sure that even if their teenager isn’t working this summer, he or she still needs work experience.

He says parents should encourage their teens to start volunteering.