Last week, we launched Project Indy 2019 with our partners at EmployIndy at the Indianapolis Zoo. Since we began working with EmployIndy on Project Indy in 2017, we’ve helped over 7,300 youth land almost 4,000 jobs in Indianapolis. It’s one of the most important accomplishments WorkHere has to date. Why? Programs like Project Indy and Jobs for Youth —Northern Indiana are great first steps toward fixing a bad trend. Young people are simply not working anymore, and it’s limiting young people’s future.
During the Great Recession, employers cut jobs and were able to find adults to do entry-level work that was historically reserved for young, new workers. According to Pew Reseach, teen summer employment historically bounced between 46.3% and 58%. The teen employment rate started to steadily decrease through the 2000s after the 2001 recession and by the time the 2007-2009 Great Recession occurred, that rate quickly plummeted to 29.6% and has struggled to reach pre-2000 levels since.
Why do we want teens to get jobs? It’s a fact that young people who have jobs in their teens outearn their peers over a lifetime. According to JP Morgan Chase, workers who started working in their teens outearn their peers by 25%. That’s a huge leg up in life. These workers earn more and are able to reach a higher quality of life because they learned and developed work-related skills, such as responsibility, time management, initiative, communication, and teamwork at an earlier age. Working as a teen also boosts self-confidence and independence as well.
“A decade after graduation, former high schoolers (ages 16 to 19) who had summer jobs earned 20 to 25 percent more than peers who did not have summer jobs.”
— 2015 Drexel University Study
On the employer side, if you want smart, energetic employees who WANT to work, you might just want to join the youth employment movement. Youth work hard, and often stay with their first employer longer. It’s time to start hiring young people again.