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City focuses on helping teens find jobs

By From page A1 | January 21, 2014

It’s tough out there for teens looking for summer jobs.

Fifteen years ago, more than half of all American teens ages 16 to 19 worked a summer job. By last summer, just 32 percent did, according to research at Northeastern University in Boston, which found teen employment in August was near a record low for the fourth straight year.

Few were blaming a lazy work ethic for teen unemployment either. Rather, experts point to the recession and its aftermath, and older workers taking and keeping the jobs that used to be the purview of teens and young adults.

Fortunately for Davis teens, jobs specifically intended for them continue to be offered by the city’s Community Services Department. Most positions involve working with and supervising the hundreds of Davis children enrolled in summer recreation programs throughout the city and all pay between $9 and $12 per hour.

There are openings for everything from summer camp counselors to swim instructors, lifeguards to pool cashiers. All of the available part-time job opportunities will be posted on the city website beginning Thursday, Jan. 30.

The minimum age requirement varies by job, from 14 years old for swim instructor aides to 21 for Trekker guides and Camp Putah directors.

And the city isn’t just offering teens job opportunities either — city staff also will help teens get those jobs through a job skills workshop on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

Teens attending the workshop will receive tips on how to fill out an application, write a résumé and nail an interview.
Recreation program coordinators and supervisors will be on hand to conduct practice interviews and provide feedback on how teens can improve everything from eye contact to body language to simply making a good first impression.

“We focus on the issues we run into,” said Christine Foster, a community services coordinator who hires and oversees staff for teen and outdoor programs. “How to present yourself: Are you chewing gum? Are your pants sagging? Is your phone going off?”

And while the city itself will begin taking job applications the next day, the workshop is intended to help teens looking for any job with any employer.

“It’s less about getting a job with us, though we do hire a lot of people, and more about making this a service for young people,” Foster said. “We want to prepare you for any job.”

The workshop begins at 3:30 p.m. in the Veterans’ Memorial Theater, 203 E. 14th St. Job opportunities with the Community Services Department will open the following day at http://administrative-services.cityofdavis.org/part-time-employment-opportunities. Applications will not be accepted at the workshop.

Among the positions that will be available are:

* Inclusive recreation leader, with a minimum age of 15 and a starting hourly wage of $9.36.

* Gym and dance camp counselor, with minimum age of 16 and starting hourly wage of $9.45.

* Recreation leader for Rainbow Summer, Summer Quest, Voyagers, Arts and Crafts, and Kids in the Kitchen, with a minimum age of 15 and starting hourly wage of $9.45.

* Senior leader for Rainbow Summer, Summer Quest, Voyagers, Arts and Crafts, and Kids in the Kitchen, with a minimum age of 17 and starting hourly wage of $10.42.

* Pool cashier and pool concessions, with a minimum age of 15 and starting hourly wage of $9.

* Swim instructor aide, with a minimum age of 14 and starting hourly wage of $9.

* Swim instructor, with a minimum age of 16 and starting hourly wage of $9.99.

* Lifeguard, with a minimum age of 15 and starting hourly wage of $10.42.

* Batting cage attendant, with a minimum age of 17 and starting hourly wage of $9.

* Concession stand worker, with a minimum age of 17 and hourly wage of $9.

* Trekkers guide, with a minimum age of 21 and a starting hourly wage of $9.

* Horse camp counselor, with a minimum age of 18 and starting hourly wage of $9.45.

* Camp Putah counselor, with a minimum age of 18 and starting hourly wage of $9.92.

* Camp Putah director, with a minimum age of 21 and starting hourly wage of $12.03.

As they look through the applications and begin conducting interviews, city staff will be looking for specific attributes in job candidates, Foster said.

“In general, what we’re looking for in an applicant is a strong desire to work with children,” she said.

Additionally, staff will be looking for teens and young adults with excellent judgment, initiative, energy, enthusiasm and patience. Applicants also need to be team-oriented, have strong customer service skills, leadership and the availability to work during the late spring and summer.

Some jobs will be available for year-round employment, including theater, facilities, gymnastics, inclusive recreation and more.

When applying, teens need to submit a separate application for each job opening and should apply early — some positions are limited to the first 50 applicants.

Some also require certification — such as for lifeguards — so interested applicants need to be sure they are certified in time.

For more information, call the Community Services Department at 530-757-5626.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

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