Competition for Summer Jobs

Jun 22, 2012

For students, now is the time of year when school ends and summer vacation begins – and for many that means trying to find a summer job. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard took a look at the market for part-time work for young people.

Because of the economic downturn, younger people have had a harder time finding that part-time position to earn some money during the summer. President and CEO of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce Mike Supranowicz says that while the county unemployment rate is looking better this month – tied with the state average of 5.8 percent and lower than it’s been in years, a lack of summertime employment for youth has been a primary concern of his…

Jobs in areas like retail, hospitality, attractions, and entertainment are the typical sources for teen employment – the Berkshire Regional Employment Board’s Youth Director Heather Shogry-Williams calls those “Youth Friendly”. She said that this year it seems that young people might  have an easier time finding work in the area.

In collaboration with the Berkshire Regional Employment Board, Berkshire Works Career Center hosts a summer Youth Works program. Youth Works is subsidized through the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s Commonwealth Corporation and provides at risk students across Massachusetts with summer employment in private, public, and non-profit work environments. Earlier this year, Governor Deval Patrick took steps to fund the program for the next two summers.

Jessica Harvey, Youth Coordinator at Berkshire Works says that this year, they were able to increase their openings for the program.

Harvey said that teens and young adults looking for summer work should check with their local employment agencies.

Heathery Shogry-Williams said that in the upcoming weeks, the Berkshire Regional Employment Board will also be launching an online Employer Engagement Campaign to help connect young people with summer employment.