For teens, getting a summer job an important stepping stone

06/04/2014 12:00 AM

06/03/2014 3:01 PM

The summer job used to be a rite of passage for teens. Are teens still feeling the motivation? Apparently so.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, from April to July 2013, the number of employed youths 16 to 24 years old increased by 2.1 million to 19.7 million.

According to the Princeton Review’s “The Road to College,” a summer job “can be a boon to your college applications, because good ones demonstrate that you are mature, responsible and reliable.”

California labor laws generally prohibit nonfarm employment of children younger than 14. Once that age is reached, teens, while they may not operate heavy machinery or drive, can do a variety of tasks. And many older teens are seeking positions that relate to their future careers and interests.

Jennifer Ryan, a 19-year-old San Francisco State University student, works as a brand representative for the Modesto Nuts. This is her second summer with the Nuts, and she got the job through a family friend also employed by the minor-league baseball ball club.

In her position, Ryan attends community events and makes appearances on behalf of the Nuts. “Every day, it does change based on what is going on in the community,” she said.

During games, Ryan works in the merchandise store, in guest services or with the mascots. When it is not a game day, she does social media work and plans events with community organizations. For example, the Nuts have partnered with schools for a reading program.

At SFSU, her major is business marketing, and she is especially interested in going into sports marketing. “It is the perfect fit for me because I am interested in learning what I can from the people above me and my co-workers.”

Ryan’s advice for a summer job: “Start with whatever interests you or something you enjoy. If you like talking to people or playing soccer, I am sure that there is a job out there that is similar to it.”

Her favorite part of her job is that she can be involved with the community, spend her day talking to people and watching baseball. “Which is a plus, too.”

Alexis Ulloa, a 19-year-old Ceres resident, recently graduated from Modesto Junior College with an associate’s degree in animal science.

Her summer job is with a sheep breeding operation in Norway. Her Central Valley High School agriculture instructor, Jessica Bishop Cardoso, connected her with the opportunity through a family friend.

The farm is in Leirfjord, Norway, and Ulloa helps with lambing. Lambing normally is a nocturnal process, so she spends evenings and nights gaining experience. “I am interested in it because it involves working with sheep and applying my livestock and veterinary skills every day.”

In her opinion, the best thing about having a summer internship is that she doesn’t have to worry about keeping up with schoolwork. Following her internship in Norway, Ulloa plans to work at the Stanislaus County Fair in the livestock department.

Her advice for teens interested in a summer job: “Talk to your teachers and counselors and look in your community. There are a lot of summer jobs out there, and all you need is the motivation to look for them.”

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