In Kids & Family

Teens Grow Greens is expanding to the South Side and is on the look for teens with ambition. (PHOTO: Teens Grow Greens)

What every Milwaukee teen needs to know to find (and keep) a summer job

Summer is the season for students to kick back and enjoy a break from homework.

Or maybe even get to work on building a resume.

In 2018, Pew Research Center found that only 35 percent of teenagers in the U.S. worked a summer job.

Although that rate may seem low, it represents a rise in teen employment, which dipped after the recession.

Fortunately, for teenagers living in Milwaukee, there's a plethora of summer jobs available.

Where teens can find help

Milwaukee Public Library:The library has a variety of resources to help teens.

Employ Milwaukee:Employ Milwaukee helps young adults find jobs based on their interests. Currently, Employ Milwaukee is accepting applications for its Earn & Learn program until 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 27. Toni White, the program manager for adult and youth services, said the organization has young adult employee opportunities year-round.

Neu-Life Youth Workforce Innovation:Neu-Life recently launched a workforce initiative aimed at young adults. As part of the launch, Neu-Life opened a new center at 2014 W. North Ave. Teens will help out on projects.

Teens Grow Greens: For six years, Teens Grow Greens has been working with students who live on the North Side. This summer, the program will expand to the South Side. Charlie Uihlein, the executive director, said he is looking ambitious teens. Those who wish to apply can email teensgrowgreens@gmail.com for an application.

Personal network: Asking relatives, neighbors and friends about job openings is one of the best ways to find a job. When people start joining the workforce, they start cultivating resources and forming connections. This turns into a network of people who know how to find a job worth seeking.

Advice every teen should heed

Once teens are hired, or if they're still looking, there's some advice they should heed.

Acing the application and interview: An application is a legal document, White said. That means everything needs to be truthful. It's important to fill out every part of the application and seek advice when clarification is needed. White added that using correct punctuation and grammar is essential.

Practice, practice, practice: Petra Duecker, the teen education specialist for Milwaukee Public Library, said doing practice interviews can help teens prep for the situation. For many young adults, summer jobs are their first experience in the workforce.

Think outside the box: Duecker encourages teens to think beyond the stereotypical teenage jobs. Young adults should think of their long-term goals, she said. For example, if they want to be a nurse, they should look for jobs that can help them earn a certified nursing assistant.

"Try new opportunities, even things you don't think you'll like," Uilhein said. High school is the time to explore new things and think beyond one's boundaries, he added.

Sweat the small stuff: Showing up on early and making a point to communicate with the supervisors shows commitment, Uilhein said.

"Be aware of your social media and how to utilize it," White said. All companies and organizations have an image. When they hire someone, they want someone who can represent the brand in a positive light.

Be teachable: The point of having a job as a teenager is to learn and acquire skills for later employment. "Accept coaching and don't look at it as criticism," Duecker said.

Come prepared to work: Arriving to a job ready to work means limiting cellphone usage while working, White said. She added that being prepared means having the appropriate attire, attitude and ethic, which means being on time and doing the full shift.

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