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Teens applying for summer jobs helping workforce shortage

Teens applying for summer jobs helping workforce shortage
Teens applying for summer jobs helping workforce shortage
Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 6:20 PM EDT
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WAYNE COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - 224,000. That is the number of jobs posted right now in Georgia.

It comes as unemployment claims are down across the Peach State, workforce shortages continue, and the unemployment rate is just one percent higher than it was before the pandemic.

According to some local businesses, teenagers could help close some of the gaps.

“Any way you need to, especially Poppell’s. I like helping them a lot because they have done a lot for me,” said Camryn Brooks, with Poppell Farms.

Summer employment for teens looks promising. Some eager to make money, as they head off to college.

“College and books and stuff. Just getting ready to buy some furniture for my apartment. I’m just saving anything I can really.”

Brooks, who just graduated from Wayne County High School, is working her third summer at Poppell Farms.

“Typically, we have 12 high school kids that work with us on any given day, 12-14 actually,” Poppell Farms owner Tanya Poppell said.

Poppell says the farm had no issues hiring for the season, as the farm usually relies on its community’s teenagers for summer employment.

“Actually completed the application and interview process the end of school, so it was just a couple weeks.”

Now, compare that to other businesses still working to fill positions after months of looking.

The Salad Spot in downtown Jesup just recently opened positions up to 15-year-olds with a work permit.

“Last Friday, school got out here in Wayne County, I want to say I received about 12 to 15 different inquiries of teenagers wanting to work. That was just from Friday and here we are at Wednesday,” The Salad Spot owner Schala Walton said.

Walton says she’s gotten more job applications from teens than adults, which she says is great but also sad.

“It’s sad that teens have more, they want to have more of a work ethic than the adults do right now. It’s pretty sad, and they’re literally willing to take anything. They just want to work,” Walton said.

And the numbers back it up. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows 32 percent of 16-to 19-year-olds were working in April. That’s the highest it’s been since 2008, when it was around 34 percent.

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