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Wednesday focus: The workplace


Summer jobs and internships for teens this year may be as rare as an ant-free picnic.

So let’s talk about “twinternships” instead.

First, the setting:

The March jobless numbers put the teen jobless rate at nearly 22 percent. That share will jump at least three percentage points in May, as it always does when school gets out.

This year, with adult unemployment nearing 9 percent of the labor force, grown-ups with more experience and maturity are going to be vying for (or already holding) the jobs that teens previously might have taken.

Factor in disappointing hiring prospects for new college graduates – who also will be trying for summer jobs – and the prospects for younger teens worsen further., a national job board that specializes in entry-level work, calls this year’s summer job market “bleak.” Its survey last month of more than 1,000 hourly hiring managers found that 46 percent didn’t intend to do any summer job recruiting.

Only one-fourth of the employers said they would hire at the same rate this summer as last.

And the pressure on teens to find work may be greater this year – partly because more parents have lost jobs or had their work hours cut back.

All that combines to plaster a big black storm cloud on the summer job horizon.

Capitalizing on the Twitter craze, Pizza Hut oiled its publicity machine to open applications for a “twintern.”

Now, that’s only one job – in Dallas, for only one college student at one company – but the gimmick presents an idea for teens who need to make their own luck in the face of grim hiring odds.

The idea: Take your Facebook familiarity, your YouTube usage, your tweet talent and sell yourself to employers who don’t know they need you.

The social media explosion has left lots of adults (and the enterprises they run) in the dust. Many don’t understand the new media or why using it might generate business.

So, online-savvy teens, start pitching your social media services by showing businesses precisely what Twitter, etc., can do for their marketing and customer service contacts.

You have a skill set – and time – many businesses don’t have. And you won’t cost a lot.



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