Summer job outlook not so rosy for young people

HOUSTON Last year, the unemployment rate was seven percent. This year it is over eight percent, but there are jobs out available just for teens and young people.

The jobs are for young people who come from families with economic disadvantages, but even that program has fewer jobs to offer than last year.

With unemployment already over eight percent in Harris County, it is no wonder the Workforce Solutions offices are busy.

Melanie Belk has been laid off twice in a year and is now trying to find work outside her career field.

"My industry was mortgage and escrow, and I don't even know how to equate that to a position to let someone know, yes I can answer multiline phones, I can greet clients, I can do everything that a receptionist can do, I am qualified," Belk said.

As Belk struggles to find work, thousand of additional job seekers are about to flood the market. Belk says school-aged job seekers on summer break are going to be competing with seasoned professionals for work.

"People that were way up there are now trying to go to Wal-Mart, trying to go to Target; everyone is just trying to pay their bills," she said.

Making the summer job outlook even worse, there are fewer jobs specifically for younger people. Last year, Workforce Solutions had a program that funded more than 5,000 jobs for young people. This year that same program only has enough money for about 4,200 jobs in our area.

"We are going to have fewer jobs this year, but we still are going to have the same type of quality jobs that they had last year," said Sue Cruver of Workforce Solutions.

Cruver says if young people cannot find a job this summer, they should considering volunteering.

"You get experience, you meet people and you may just find something that strikes a spark as far as an area of interest to study and maybe work in one day," she said.

That youth job program is taking applications now. To find how where and how to apply, we have a link on the ABC13 Consumer Blog here.

As far as some bright spots for young people looking for work, The City of Houston has about 100 more summer jobs than last year. They can be found through

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