Teens get creative to land summer jobs

July 16, 2009 4:55:57 PM PDT
Do you have a teen who is at home this summer? The job market for teens is tougher this year as the recession drives adults into jobs that would normally be filled with teens. But we found some teens beating the statistics and making cash using their creativity.

With every step, hop and tap of her feet, Sarah Rorhman, 15, is investing in her future. Sarah started dancing at age four. Now a sophomore in high school, she's already a member of a dance company with dreams of one day dancing for a living.

"After you finish, you just feel so amazing if you do a good performance," she said.

Her summer job at the West University Dance Center is helping her make those dreams come true. The center offers the option to pay teens like Sarah in cash or in classes, and by selecting free tuition, she is able to afford the classes she needs to reach her goals.

"I take so many dance classes a week that it really adds up," said Sarah.

Unemployment is at 24 percent for teens age 16-19 looking for work, a tough statistic that leaves some sidelined or in jobs they don't like. But instead of choosing just any summer job, many teens are choosing jobs that are preparing them for the future and helping them to get a leg up on the competition.

"If they are very strong in a subject, tutor or teach a foreign language to somebody," said marketing executive Sally Jazwiak. "Parents should start looking for where the demand is and then brainstorm about what they can do, what they can offer."

Carlee Eberly is a sophomore at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She was facing a summer of waitressing or worse -- no job at all.

"A lot of my friends don't really have jobs," she said.

Carlee is a dance major, and wants to become a dance instructor, so she needed a job that would enhance her resume. She applied for a job at Kidventure Day Camp and was hired as a counselor.

She says she loves the kids and the paycheck, and she's thrilled that this summer job will give her an advantage when she leaves college for the real world.

"It'll show that I've had experience working with the children," she said. "I know how to relate to them and teach them different skills, not only with dance, but with discipline and stuff like that."

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