Students scavenge for local summer job opportunities

Leah Mulaly

     Many students look for ways to make money over the summer. However, it is difficult to find a job with the current state of the economy. Competition for basic unskilled labor jobs is stiff leaving many high schoolers wanting for summer jobs. But, many teens with a specific skill or good connections can still find jobs in tough markets.

     Several of these students are adept at a specific sport and use their knowledge to make money during the summer while enjoying their favorite activity. These students often choose this job because high school and other time commitments don’t allow time to just play for fun.

      “I referee minor league soccer games, [for] 11-year-olds and younger,” Will Craven, freshman, said. “It just hit me one day that with nine years of playing soccer, and with little chance of me ever becoming a professional player, I could put my skills to a more practical job and make some easy money.”

     Others use their proficiency in art or other skills to make money while enjoy their craft at the same time. Some of these teens are camp counselors at the YMCA, but others work at more specialized camps.

      “I will be working at GameCamp! and I will primarily be teaching the art side of the video game industry,” Nick McCann, senior, said. “I first attended the camp three years ago, met the director and became good friends with her. Last year was my first time ever to intern and it was a blast. I gained knowledge on counseling techniques, the kids learned how the art side of the video games is developed and at the end of the day we would play video games.”

     A few students become interns for the summer, which may or may not pay. Local businesses are often willing to lend a student some business experience, which can be just as valuable as cash. In addition to local businesses, local establishments like government-run facilities also offer internships.

      “I have an internship at the state capital as a congressional page,” Phillip Guebert, senior, said. “Working as a team, pages assist Members [of Congress] with their legislative duties, deliver correspondence and small packages within the congressional complex, answer phones in the Member cloakrooms and prepare the House and Senate Floor for sessions.”

     Several students choose to be lifeguards, a summer job that doesn’t require prior experience or connections. However, all lifeguards-to-be receive training before their employment and must receive certifications before they can work. Many CPHS students work for Lifeguard4hire, a family-owned Austin aquatics company, and lifeguard at local pools. Other lifeguarding gigs include Volente Beach, which was recently bought out by Schlitterbahn.

     “[Being a lifeguard] was the best job ever; it was so [rewarding], saving lives,” Cat Chrobak, junior, said. “It was also really easy and I got a sweet tan.”

     An ambitious few students have taken a different route to making money and have started their own business. If it can be managed, this is a great way to not only make money, but also to earn college scholarships.

     “I plan on running my own photography business,” Chelsea Hollenbeck, junior, said. “I’ll be doing portraits for people, or ad making or photo retouching/editing. I’m making a website and starting to charge really low, affordable prices.”

     For teens that don’t have a specialty or a job already, there is still hope. The City of Austin and Travis County have combined forces to provide students between the ages of 14 and 17 with summer jobs through the Work-based Learning/Summer Youth Employment Program. Participants are referred to the program in many ways, such as through non-profit organizations and the Job Readiness Training program. All teens are provided with 15 hours of job readiness training before being given community improvement work. These students acquire the experience of applying for a job and earning a salary. There are two sessions, and each participant may work up to 96 hours in one session. Some employment opportunities include park cleanup and development, journalism and media production, animal care, office management, art and mural projects, child care and education assistance. If interested, the phone number for it is 512-854-4590.

     Many seniors will be leaving for college soon, which will create job openings. Apply early to be in the running for these positions. If the endeavor to obtain a job doesn’t works out, there are always neighborhood jobs such as babysitting, dog walking and lawn mowing. Along with babysitting, many parents offer extra money for tutoring their children. A lot of people go on vacation during the summer, so house sitting and pet sitting are also options. If all else fails, summer can just be a relaxing time to spend with friends, enjoying what’s left of your childhood.