Summer Jobs Scarce for Homeless Teens

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Mon, 07/02/2012

This summer, seven out of ten teenagers nationally will be unemployed. For low-income kids, young people without stable housing, the youth we serve, the odds of landing summer employment are abysmal. But what we've found is that our young people are also pushing themselves beyond these frightening statistics, with YouthCare’s support.  

Every month, our Employment and Education Coordinator Anjilee Dodge hosts a career panel for youth in our housing programs. One month it will be a panel focusing on healthcare careers, another month, a focus on technology. Anjilee is adamant that in order to move out of and past homelessness, our young people need careers, not “survival jobs.”

But the reality is, those survival jobs need to come first for our youth in order to help build a resume and employment references, and to learn budgeting and time management. And unfortunately, even those survival jobs are increasingly hard to find. To prevent discouragement, Anjilee organizes a weekly “motivational meeting,” where youth work on resumes and job applications, talk about short- and long-term job prospects, and share their frustrations and triumphs.

Anjilee also encourages young people to get into school for specialized, vocational training that will lead them to stable, living wage careers. One young woman is now a budding phlebotomist with a temp job working security. Another practiced her pizza dough skills on her co-residents at Passages while enrolled in a one-year baking program at Edmonds Community College. For now, she’s getting by with catering gigs.

We are happy to report that right now, despite the dire job market, every single youth living at YouthCare’s Alhadeff Family Home of Hope apartments is employed. In our other programs, young people are hard at work, sending out resume after resume and pounding the pavement, while not losing sight of their future goals.

These young people are motivated and ready to move forward. YouthCare is here to offer the support they need to become productive, independent citizens and to turn those statistics around.