FREE SPEECH ZONE | Teens Looking for JOBS, Are JOBS Looking for Them?


Some teens struggle with money throughout their lives, and some struggle to help their families. As a society, how do we help? Due to our economy and the recession, there are not too many jobs in Minneapolis for teens.  But thanks to some special programs, there are unique opportunities for teens to work during the summer. 

“Most people don’t know is that the City of Minneapolis has had a summer youth employment program since the mid-1970’s giving thousands of youth jobs,” said Tammy Dickinson, an employee of Minneapolis’ Step-UP Program.   In 2004, Mayor Rybak and his partner, Richard Davis, began Step-Up, a summer youth employment program. This is one program out of many more that has given and continues to give thousands of teens the opportunity to be employed.

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According to Dickinson, Step-UP believes that “all youth have the potential to do amazing things and simply need the chance to do so. A summer job is a great place to start on that journey.”

What’s wrong with giving teens a chance or helping them out? Some businesses don’t think teens have the mind frame and hard work to put into a job. Tammy Dickson doesn’t agree, “My passion is for creating opportunities for young people to get the experience and skills they need to be successful in work, school, and life.”

There is more to employment than just giving teens work and money, it helps open up other doors to many more things. “It gives young people the chance to gain work experience, network in the business and non-profit community, and have tangible skills to build on for life,” said Tammy Dickinson.

Team Teen Works, another summer job program for students who live in Minneapolis, places students throughout the park and recreation board to do maintenance work in the parks. Not only is this job just giving teens the opportunity to work, but also helps out with cleaning up the community.

Sarah White, a summer employee for Minneapolis Team Teen Works, said, “A big benefit is for a lot of students that live in this city.  They don’t have a lot of opportunities to spend a lot of time outside.” Through Team Teen Works, “They see the bigger picture of things.  Parks need to be cleaned.  Water quality is damaged because of this trash,” said White.  Team Teen Works gives teens the chance to get to know their communities and address some of the local problems.

Summer time is always the best time for college students to earn money.  Is it more likely for a college student to get a job than a high school student? Most businesses may believe that college students need the money the most, but I say why not be fair?

 According to White, “With summer jobs, you’re competing with college students who are coming home.” This makes some teens feel pressured because they may less education than college students.  This is why summer job programs for teens are helpful.  “It’s something that Minneapolis sees that’s important and that should continue to look for expanding ways for,” said Sarah White.

Most people didn’t think that summer employment programs like Step Up and Team Teen Works would be so helpful for teens. Being a teen myself, I have been through the struggles of trying to find a job.  Usually, every summer, no one is hiring because all the college students come home and beat me to it. But now that I know that there are summer job programs willing to give teens the chance to experience having a job and learning new things about our communities, I feel that I have a special spot in which I can continue to grow.