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Some Tri-State area teens looking for work find it elusive

June 24, 2008|By ANGELICA ROBERTS

Summer is here, and for those teenagers who would rather work than go to the beach, a summer job can provide work experience and spending money.

Although there might be jobs available, a study of 1,100 companies conducted by snagajob.com - which connects job seekers nationwide with hourly employment - found that almost half of hiring managers contacted said they do not intend to hire any seasonal workers this year, meaning fewer teens will find jobs.

Tim Troxell, executive director of the Hagerstown-Washington Economic Development Commission, said that as the number of retail stores in the area increases, so do the number of jobs, and many of those jobs are filled by teenagers.

According to Hagerstown-Washington Economic Development Commission figures from 2007, the largest business industry was services, with 1,127 establishments in the county. Almost 900 of those locations employed from one to 19 people.

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The second largest industry was retail, with 666 establishments in the area. More than 550 of those locations employed from one to 19 people.

Looking for work

Sasha Moats, 19, of Greencastle, Pa., knows finding work can be tough.

Two weeks ago, she was actively searching for a job in the Hagerstown area and, at least initially, wasn't having a lot of luck.

Moats said she has "worked in two different retail stores" and was still finding it difficult to land a job.

"I applied to like 10 different places and got no calls back," Moats said.

Danielle Daughtridge, 18, has held the same job for a while.

Daughtridge, who has been a sales associate at Polo Ralph Lauren at Prime Outlets for two years, said the store recieves many applications from teenagers.

"A lot of teenagers are looking for jobs, and they're especially applying here," Daughtridge said.

In some cases, the chances of a teenager finding a summer job might depend on where he or she applies.

Amy Mills, manager at Claire's Accessories at Prime Outlets at Hagerstown, said she does not plan to hire seasonal workers this year, because the store doesn't have a lot of available hours to fill.

Some point to lack of experience as a reason teens might not get the jobs they want this summer.

"In retail stores, they do hire teens, but it's harder if they don't have experience anywhere else," said Megan Deavers, 20, an associate at Aldo Shoes at Prime Outlets.

Rack Room Shoes store manager Somon Fuller said one thing that might prevent stores from hiring teenagers is an issue of "work ethic and maturity."

"I only have one teen working here," Fuller said. "I have a stack of applications from them, but I don't hire as many of them because when they come in, you can kind of tell they're not going to work out ... They come in and are lazy."

Moats said, however, she believes characterizing teenagers as lazy is a generalization.

"They have the wrong stereotype of us (teens)," Moats said.

Like Moats, 17-year-old Stephanie Johnson, of Frederick, Md., disagreed with the idea that teens are lazy.

"I've been working since I was 15, and I now work at McDonald's," Johnson said. "I know there are some kids who would rather not work, but it's not fair to categorize all of us and say we're all lazy, because I'm not."

Although some types of jobs are geared more to older workers, there are some managers who welcome the younger crowd.

Steve Oberholzer, assistant manager of Food Lion on Eastern Boulevard in Hagerstown, said he does not think hiring teens is a bad move.

"They don't have a hard time getting jobs here," Oberholzer said. "Most of our kids who work in the front are teens between the ages of 16 and 18."

He said he believed that teens getting jobs "is a good experience for them."

Tiffany Ickes, a Burger King manager on Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown, said she has nothing against younger workers.

"Most of them are OK," Ickes said. "You get a couple who act like children and don't want to work, but that's with adults, too."

Moats said she wishes employers who do not like to hire teens would look past the age and hire based on experience, capability and the desire to work.

"We're young and we just want to work. We need to make money," Moats said.

Web sites for teens looking for work



Teenagers can check the following Web sites for information on job availability in their area and tips on what employers want:

· www.snagajob.com

· www.Teens4Hire.org

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