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To Work or Not to Work / By Erika Henderson


Did you know that roughly 56% of students (16 through 24 years old) are working at least during the summer months? (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment & Unemployment among Youth, 2019). Youth unemployment fell to 9% in 2019, which was its lowest number since 1966. This is great because jobs can give youth employees many skills that are important for their future career. Christi, a former On the Money intern and One Summer Chicago youth, described some of the things she learned by working as a student, “I learned the importance of time management and how to talk with a variety of individuals from different backgrounds. One of the skills I acquired is how to effectively research my target audience.” Christi also learned many financial skills from earning a paycheck and explained, “I learned how to have a budget that works with my wants and needs and the importance of saving for unexpected expenses.”

Lisa Davis, Director of One Summer Chicago, explained that if you have the choice to work while attending school you must take into consideration your responsibility to the job/internship and your school responsibilities. You need to be able to balance the two. It isn’t easy at first, but you can ask for help (Davis, 2019). She said that if you would like to have your job help lead to future or more permanent positions, you should always come to work on time; as they say in the military, “early is on time and on time is late.” Be early, push yourself to do top notch work, be prepared for work and dress appropriately. You never know who is watching, so always give your best.

While working has many benefits for youth in terms of experience, youth also need to be careful to balance their work and school if they work year-round. Roughly 26% of youth ages 16-19 work during the school year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Force Participation Rate - Enrolled in School, 16-19 yrs, 2019). If you are a student who is looking forward to working and going to school, then you should find something flexible that works with your school schedule. When looking for job postings, finding a trustworthy resource will help you to find that position that lines up with your classes as well.

Overall, teens can benefit from working because they pick up more professional life skills, such as balancing school and their job, helping them save for college, creating a budget and more.

One Summer Chicago Interns visit Millman Consulting


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