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Teen Hiring May Increase This Summer

Apr 27 2012 10:00PM

Andrew Edwards

Youth unemployment rates have remained persistently high since the Great Recession was over, but teens seeking summer work this year may have a better chance at landing a job than during 2011.

That view comes from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago job placement firm that releases a summer job outlook every year. Challenger, Gray & Christmas expect summer hiring for teens will exceed 2011 levels, when U.S. employers added a little more than one million teens to their payrolls.

Among the million or more teens who may go to work this summer, roughly 800 will earn paychecks from Raging Waters, the San Dimas water park. "We're hiring the same, if not a few more people than prior years," park general manager Mark Whitfield said.


Waters, set to open May 12, has already started its seasonal hiring and will hire throughout the summer, Whitfield said.

Although Challenger, Gray & Christmas see an improving climate for 16- to 19-year-old job seekers, the placement firm's analysts do not foresee hiring to reach pre-recession levels this year.

U.S. employers hired an average of 1.7 million 16- to 19-year old employees for their summer payrolls from 2005 through 2007.

In California, teens' unemployment rate is more than triple that of the population at large. Job seekers between the ages of 16 to 19 had an unemployment rate of roughly 36 percent in March.

The state's overall unemployment rate was 11.4 percent last month. That figure does not include discouraged workers who have simply given up hope of finding a job.

If Challenger, Gray & Christmas' projections are accurate, young job seekers like Brandon White, 19, of San Bernardino, may have a better chance of earning a paycheck this summer.

"I don't think it's hard. I just take it all as a challenge," White said of the still-weak labor market.

Friday, White and hundreds of other teens and young adults attended a youth job summit Friday at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario.

The Y4 conference -- part motivational seminar, part job fair -- is an annual event for the nearly 700 youths who participate in the county Workforce Investment Board's job training and placement program for low-income youths.

"It's the culmination of a year-round program in order to give the youth a tool kit and in order to advance their careers," Workforce Investment Board staff analyst Emily Petrus said.

White, who aspires to eventually join the Air Force, said the program has given him a chance to practice his construction skills at the Provisional Accelerated Learning Center, a charter school in Muscoy.

The hundreds of youths who also attended Friday's conference had a chance to meet with representatives from several inland schools and companies. California Steel, Stater Bros. Markets, Ventura Foods and American Medical Response were among those present at the conference.

American Medical Response account executive Andy Serobyan came to the event with informational fliers for those interested in learning how to be an emergency medical technician or paramedic.

EMT wages start at a base of $25,000 per year, he said.

"This is a good stepping stone for anyone who is interested in a health-care career," Serobyan said.

Source: (c)2012 the San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, Calif.)

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