Secrets of the Job Hunt


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Much Needed Boston Jobs for Young Adults

For high school and college students, finding Boston jobs has been difficult this summer. With the Massachusetts unemployment rate climbing form 4.9 percent in May to 5.2 percent in June, the workforce's next generation is having to compete for jobs with those who have much more experience.

Since unemployment rates do not take into account the number of individuals who are underemployed, there is no telling how many entry-level positions has been taken my adults need the income badly enough to take pay cuts. Employers naturally prefer workers with more experience and are, therefore, more likely to pass up on young people in favor of those who have a little more business know-how.

The problem with this is that teens and college students need these positions greatly in order to get a good foundation of knowledge of the workplace. Yes, many may make big mistakes on their first jobs, but it's those first mistakes that teach them how to behave in a professional setting.

In June, teen employment stood at 37.1 percent, which is a 2.5 percent decrease from the previous year and a decline of 14.3 percent from its highest point in the 1990's, said a Northeastern University's Center for Labor Market Studies expert. The teen unemployment rate, which only takes into account young adults actually searching for work, is currently at 18.7 percent. Even with rising unemployment across the nation, this figure makes the problems older members of the workforce seem less dire.

As labor-market studies professor Harry Holzer with Georgetown University in Washington recently said, times of economic instability are hardest on young people "because they are the first people to get fired and the last to get hired."

He went on to explain what demographics are hurt the most. "What's unusual is that it comes on top of a long-term trend that was already fairly negative. The long-term trend is hitting low-income and minority teenagers especially hard."

One reason that part-time jobs are particularly important for urban youth is the fact that statistics show that teens who work are less likely to be involved in violence, to join gangs or become parents before graduating.

Recently several businesses and officials have banded together to try to help out Boston's youth. John Hancock Financial Services Inc, Boston Globe Foundation and Mayor Thomas M. Menino organized a summer jobs program geared toward providing employment for teens early this year. The program, Boston Summer Scholars is able to provide young adults with jobs due to the fact that the two companies donated $1 million to create 500 jobs.

"The mayor has been very outspoken about needing summer jobs for out city's youth," said president and CEO of John Hancock John DesPrez III. "And, from a business perspective, it's important for us to have an opportunity to train our future workforce."

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