Student summer job outlook ‘bleak?

Diane Ridley, Assistant Store Director at Bueche’s Food World, says that after more than 12 years at the Ortonville store the number of applications are perhaps the highest ever.
‘We went for a long time and had few applications, now there seems to be an overabundance. The range of applicants include youth just turning 15 for their first job, kids home from college and adults putting in applications. You can sure tell the economy is rough right now.?
Ridley suggests job seekers pay special attention to their appearance, fill out the application completely, and most of all be persistent and demonstrate the desire to work.
Bueche’s Food World is just one of several local businesses besieged with applications this spring’a trend that may be reflected statewide.
In a report from the Michigan Department of Career Development which compiles workforce data for Michigan’summertime teen jobless rates will mirror the record set in the summer of 2003.
‘At this point, we’re in the same boat as we were last summer, about 20 percent for 2003 for youths 16 to 19 years old. Historically the job market for teens has declined since WWII and that trend looks like it will continue, ‘said Jim Rhein, Labor Market Analyst for the Michigan Department of Career Development.
‘A longer school year, unpaid internships and adults taking minimum wage jobs have taken their toll on the teen-student workforce.?
Brandon Township continues to lead the area in unemployment followed by Groveland and Atlas townships. The unemployment rate in Genesee County ranks 50th (9.8 percent) of Michigan’s 83 (5.7 percent) counties while Oakland County is10th with the least unemployment.
To assist students during rough economic times, area schools help with job hunting skills.
Goodrich students begin Michigan’s Career Pathways program before reaching high school. Each student keeps a portfolio on file that includes information about academics, work experience, school-related activities, and extracurricular activities, along with letters of recommendation. The portfolio also includes information on the student’s chosen career field, such as business or medical, said Geri Hammill, Goodrich High School counselor.
Approximately half of the GHS upperclassmen have jobs, Hammill said.
Students check out their portfolio when going on an interview.
They’re encouraged to dress appropriately for the position.
‘For a professional position, obviously a shirt, coat, and tie,? said Hammill. ‘Ladies wear business attire such as a sweater and dressy slacks, or a dress.?
Counselors discourage showing tattoos and piercings when seeking a job.
‘It may be appropriate at some times, but it may be distracting, and may not be appropriate at that time,? Hammill said.
With a slow economy, students are encouraged to be especially persistent in seeking job openings, and portray a professional, confident, friendly attitude with everyone in the company even before an interview is set. A smile is always encouraged.
Jobs in daycare are always needed, said Hammill. Construction, and construction clean-up jobs are also worth pursuing, as are jobs in landscaping and lawn services. Students should also check with school districts, fast food establishments, and local businesses.
‘The most critical, if you find an opening, are appearance, personality, confidence, portfolio, persistence, and of course that all-important thank you afterwards’in writing,? said Hammill.
Cindy Villaire, owner of the two McDonald’s Restaurants in both Ortonville and Metamora welcomes summer applications in her stores and says she’ll hire many workers.
‘Applications always increase in the late spring,? said Villaire. ‘The best advice I can give teen job seekers is complete the application and do something to get my attention.?
Villaire added that older workers are also welcome to apply.
‘We’d love to hire some older workers but there’s just not an overabundances of applications,? said Villaire, who had owned McDonald’s Restaurants in both Farmington Hills and Southfield for more than eight years.
‘The restaurant business is rather fast-paced and we don’t have a lot of older workers.?
Larry Simms, owner and general manager of Simms Chevrolet, 110 Ortonville Road employs both seniors and high school students at his Ortonville dealership.
‘I have about three to five students at all times working. It’s just a steady flow,? said Simms. ‘I get a bigger hit of applications in the fall when students go back to school.?
Simms says that he utilizes both student and senior citizens as employees.
‘Many of the seniors (citizens) that work for us want part-time, flexible hours and may only work a few days each month as a dealer trade driver,? said Simms, who keeps a list of 10 to 15 senior citizens to transport cars for his dealership.
‘Conversely the students that work in our office are part-time or co-op with more standardized hours. Many work right on the lot.?
Since the requirements for the jobs are different Simms says seniors and students don’t compete for the same jobs.
‘I may need a driver once a month or twice a week, ? adds Simms. ‘It’s just right for seniors, not teens who look for more structured hours.?
Yishai Castro an economic analyst for the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth says while the number of senior citizens seeking employment may be on the rise, there’s no data suggesting they take jobs from students.
‘There are jobs out there suited for both seniors and students just not many,? said Castro. It’s not likely the two will interfere with each other.?