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Area companies encouraged to look for ways to hire young workers

Mayor Mary Verner and the Spokane Area Workforce Development Council have declared June to be “Hire a Youth” Month.  The proponents hope it only takes a mere month to inspire many employers to open their doors and bring young people into the workforce.

Two years ago, many area teens could get summer, entry-level jobs without superhuman effort. That’s changed and has made getting hire more difficult, since many of those entry-level jobs are going to skilled workers displaced by layoffs, said Heidi Peterson, youth services manager for NextGenerationZone, a cooperative nonprofit coalition focused on helping young people find good jobs in the area.

Employers and human resource directors are being asked to discover a creative way to hire young workers, said Nancy Nelson, president of Spokane-based staffing firm Humanix, and chair of the Youth Council of the Spokane Area Workforce Development Council.

Nelson said the unemployment rate nationally for 16-to-19 year-olds is 24 percent.

She said area businesses can help by creating paid or unpaid internships, light-entry level jobs, job-shadows and even short-term jobs that teens can fill.

Spokane firms looking for information on how to hire teens can use the website at


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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.