March 29, 1998

Teen Jobs A Topic For Discussion At Career Fair

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Teens want money.

Teens need money.

Many of them drive and have to pay for their own car insurance and gas. They want to socialize with their friends, which means they have to foot the bill for a movie or a bite to eat at a restaurant. Many buy their own clothes.

Some even have to contribute to the family’s expenses. Collectively, in 1996, teens spent more than $70 billion of their money.

Where does it come from?

Jobs.

Last summer, according to U.S. Labor Department statistics, 21.2 million youth between the ages of 16 and 24 were employed 72 percent of them in retail, services and manufacturing industries.

Recognizing that teens are actively looking for jobs, this year’s Career Fair has a component specifically aimed at teens and their special job considerations.

Several businesses on hand will be considering teens for employment, including Sears Product Services, Eagle Hardware and Dakotah Direct.

Kelly Thompson, human resource specialist for Dakotah Direct, said the company receives lots of applications from teenagers and currently has about 65 students working for them in part-time jobs.

“I look for a definite level of maturity (in applicants),” Thompson said. Strong reading comprehension skills, a sense of professionalism and a clean-cut or professional appearance are among the basic qualities students need to be considered at Dakotah Direct, she said.

“The ones we’ve hired have done pretty well.” A big plus for teens is they don’t have much fear and that’s good for the work - as telephone representatives - they do for Dakotah Direct, Thompson said.

In addition to filling out applications and talking to recruiters, two seminars are scheduled to give teens the chance to ask a panel of individuals for advice on finding and landing jobs.Panelists will also be able to offer some warnings about the pitfalls of teen employment and how to avoid them.The first seminar will be from 11 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. and will feature Kimbre Vega, personnel and training coordinator for Riverfront Park and Michelle Carr, director of the Youth Volunteer Corps for the United Way.

Vega hires many teens and young adults for summer jobs at the park and will offer advice on how to get a job and keep a job. Carr will explain the benefits of volunteer work and how the skills learned in volunteer jobs can be directly applied to paying jobs. Joining them will be Bon Marche Teen Board members Tracey Poindexter and Cassie Ripley, who in addition to sharing their own employment experiences can offer some advice about the way teens can present themselves to increase their chances of landing a job.

Vega and Carr will return for the second seminar as well, from 5 to 6 p.m., and will be joined by Steve Taylor a career counselor/ employment specialist with Educational Service District 101. Part of Taylor’s job is training students to be prepared for jobs.

Also featured on the second panel will be Wes Vradenburg and Amanda Merdanian, students from Real Entrepreneurship and Leadership class at Riverside High School. Vradenburg currently owns and operates a computer technology/Web design company and Merdanian is considering opening a restaurant.

Both students will offer advice on the pros and cons of starting your own business as an alternative to becoming someone else’s employee. In addition, teens can check out other exhibitors and seminars and learn about some options for the future. Among the fair participants is the Washington Army National Guard, Horizon Air, and Accountemps

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