Work tougher to find for grads, students this year
By Phyllis Moore, Catharin Shepard and Laura Collins
Published in News on June 16, 2010 1:46 PM
D'Andre Slapper, right, shows off his swimming skills as YMCA lifeguard Mary-Catherin Talton looks on during a swimming exercise held on the first day of summer camp at the Goldsboro YMCA. Many recent graduates and students looking for summer jobs are finding work opportunities are few and far between this season as the economy struggles to recover.
Rebecca Sewell recently graduated from Wayne Community College's medical assisting program.
She's sent applications to several places, but hasn't heard back yet about a full-time job.
In the meantime, she has found a place to sharpen her skills.
"I have been accepted to work for the WATCH mobile, volunteering to do work at the YMCA (clinic)," she said. "I think it will help me so that I'll be ready when a full-time job comes along."
She is scheduled to begin Aug. 1. In the meantime, she's being philosophical about the whole job-seeking process, trying to look at temporary unemployment as a much-needed vacation.
"I'm a little older than some of the girls (in the class) and it took me six years to get through, non-stop without a break," she said.
Kriquette Davis, associate director of the Family Y, said that each summer the facility hires 18-20 people for its summer camp program and another 20-30 to work at the Y and at swimming pools around the city.
They're already at capacity, she noted.
"We try to have everybody hired about a month out from camp and the pools so that we have the opportunity to train them and go through staff orientation," she said. "We advertised. Last year we interviewed like 150 kids to work for summer camp counselors and only hired 20. It's good to be able to have choices as far as that goes."
She said Family Y administrators were looking for applicants who are responsible, dependable and have the ability to work with children.
"A lot of times we get more college kids because there's more age difference between them and the camp kids," Mrs. Davis said.
One exception is Josh Chappell, who just turned 18. This will be his second summer teaching swimming lessons at the Y, his third as a lifeguard.
"I just really like working with the kids and helping them learn how to swim," he said. "It's really rewarding to me, especially when they're scared and want to learn."
Chappell just graduated from the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics.
This summer he'll juggle his duties at the Family Y with a second job as lifeguard at the O'Berry Neuro-Medical Treatment Center.
"Most likely I'm going to work in the morning at one place and the afternoon at the other," he said.
He first learned about the job at O'Berry through a friend he met at the Family Y, but at the time he still wasn't old enough to apply because the minimum age requirement is 18. When he applied this year, he was hired.
But he does not take anything for granted.
"Most people my age, I guess, don't really have good luck finding a job," he said. "That's why I enjoy being a lifeguard. It's never hard finding a job lifeguarding."
And the opportunity at O'Berry is also unique, he noted. It will present more of a challenge working with the developmentally disabled.
"It's not like a normal lifeguard job where you sit by the pool," he said. "It seemed really interesting and fun."
For students looking for more traditional summer jobs, several restaurants in Mount Olive are hiring. The Burger King on N.C. 55 is accepting applications, but is not currently looking to fill any positions. That may change later in the summer, said Manager Amanda Howell.
"It's fast food. They come and go," she said.
The town will be down one fast-food restaurant this summer. The Mount Olive McDonald's was demolished and a new one is beng built nd is not expected to reopen for several months.
The Mount Olive KFC/Taco Bell is another place many students also seek employment during summer vacation. This year the restaurant is looking for help as school lets out.
"Yes, I believe we are hiring now," Manager Rudy Arellano said.
The company is taking applications, which may be picked up at the restaurant on Mondays or Tuesdays from 2-4 p.m.
Food Lion on Breazeale Avenue is also accepting applications through the company's web site, http://www.foodlion.com, Manager Mark Toller said. The store in Mount Olive employs about 45 workers, who work as cashiers, stockers and in other positions. The company frequently employs students looking for summer work, he said.
According the N.C. Employment Secur-ity Commission, the outlook isn't great for young people looking for summer work.
"I think it's going to be difficult at least for many of them. The job market is really tough right now," said Bill Pate, the Goldsboro branch manager.
But he said there are still some options for students looking for summer work.
"There's a possibility they could pick up some jobs in retail and the food industry," he said. "But high school kids are restricted on where they can work because of their age."
For college graduates, Pate suggests taking what they can get for the time being.
"They may not be able to get jobs in their field to begin with. You're probably going to look at stop-gap work in the meantime. But you can keep applying while you work," he said.
Pate's advice is to continue to network, checking businesses web sites and Facebook pages on a regular basis.
"Keep faith that the economy will get better," he said. "Stay in the public eye rather than sitting at home. If you're out and about, you continue to network and your chances improve."