Munoz: Teens taking fewer summer jobs, but don’t call them lazy

Palm Beach Skate Zone employee Heather Shapiro, 18, of Loxahatchee, carries ice cream to a freezer on Saturday, May 25, 2013. Shapiro said this was her first job. (Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post)

By Valeria Munoz

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Fewer teens are working summer jobs. Although it’s easy to assume that teens are lounging by the pool rather than filling out applications, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Teens are finding other ways to achieve personal growth. The majority are sacrificing their summer plans to volunteer, intern, or further their academic studies.

According to a report from CBS News, the number of teens in the workforce has decreased, with only 36% of teens working in 2016. Manager of Cannoli Kitchen’s east location in Boca Raton, Connie Smith agrees. Compared with last year, she has noticed fewer teenagers in this summer’s interviews.

It’s clear to me though, that, despite not serving tables or ringing up customers’ purchases, they still have their priorities straight.

In fact, the CBS report shows teens and parents see the value in pursuing higher education; 42% of American teens are enrolled in summer classes. Schools have become more competitive and students are taking note and stepping up their game.

University of Central Florida student, Kelly Furbish,18, is a perfect example. She is spending the summer getting a head start on college and becoming familiar with the campus before the flood of fall students. She says that attending classes with a smaller roster has its benefits.

“The professors are more personal which makes it easier to learn and get help, along with having a manageable course load. In the summer, you have the option to take two to three classes,” she said.

While some would rather hit the books, a lucky few manages to snag a job prior to summer.

One of those teens is Lauren Pires, 17, a Cannoli Kitchen employee, who thought acquiring a job was a productive use of her time. Not only has she accumulated work experience, but she’s learned to deal with people of different personalities.

“I wasn’t particularly interested in any sports or clubs at school,” Pires said. “But I wanted to spend my time wisely on an activity that would help me in the future and not sit around at home,”

Thus, it’s not that teens don’t recognize the importance of a summer job. More often than not, businesses have already filled spots with older workers or even teens themselves, during the school year to pay for the many costs connected to public school particularly senior year.

From honor society fees to sport team dues to prom, teens have to find a way to fund for these events sooner rather than later. This, in turn, forces businesses to be more selective of who they hire during the summer.

Whether they book a 9-to-5 shift or school becomes their full-time job, teens deserve more credit. They are certainly thinking ahead and past their summer bucket lists.

Valeria Munoz, a recent graduate of Boca Raton High School, is majoring in journalism in college and is a summer intern at the Palm Beach Post.