Three days a week, sophomore Sean O’Rourke gets dropped off at his local Goodwill store, where he works a part-time job as a shelf stocker.  He has been working there for several months and he said he has already benefitted from it greatly.  In an article published by USA Today in 2015, it was shown that over the past decade teen employment rates have been dropping dramatically.

O’Rourke found this information troubling because he said he believes it is important for people to start working as early as possible to get experience.

“I feel like too many kids nowadays are relying on their parents for their money, which is why they aren’t looking for jobs.  Kids need to learn how to earn for themselves instead of just relying on others,” O’Rourke said.

Josh Trisler, owner of two Greek’s Pizzeria restaurants in Carmel, also said he strongly believes that it is important for teens to work part-time jobs.  He had a lot of experience working as a teen himself and he has hired many teens to work at his restaurants.  According to Trisler, working as a teen helped him learn and develop into a more experienced employee when he got older.Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 11.51.19 AM

“My work ethic was instilled more from my high school job than anything else. If you want to be successful in life, work as hard as you can, especially when you are a teen,” Trisler said, via e-mail.

O’Rourke said he has specifically benefited in his ability to save money and become more independent because of his part-time job. He recommends other CHS students to follow in his footsteps.

“I think that it is important for teens to start working because it helps them earn money that they can save for their future and not rely on others,” O’Rourke said.

Senior Alisha Patel also said she has learned valuable skills from her job doing secretarial work at Nationwide Insurance. With work and school competing for time, she has learned to manage both effectively. This is especially important for Patel because she is graduating early, so having enough credits to graduate is important.

“I would say I’ve learned good time management skills because of balancing school work along with working because occasionally I do have to work on school days…I make sure I get my homework done early because I’m kind of rushed on time,” Patel said.

Patel said she believes in the importance of having a job in high school because of the benefit it will give students in the long-run.

“I feel like it’s important ‘cause a lot of college students will have jobs so if you’re exposed to the working field earlier it’ll be an easier transition in college. And it’s always nice to be making money earlier,” Patel said.

Trisler said he believes future planning like O’Rourke and Patel alluded to, is extremely important and the earlier teens start working, the better off they will be in the long run.  According to him, earning money isn’t the only gain students get from having a job.  Agreeing with Patel, he said teens who begin working in high school also become more prepared when it comes to college.

“I think it is very important for teens to work, mostly because it helps them prepare for college, where you have to learn right away to have a budget and where you run out of money quickly. If the first time you get a job is during college, then you will probably be behind the curve and there will be a lot more people who are better qualified,” Trisler said.

On the other hand, some students, like junior Nick Konkoli, only work in the summer because during the school year they don’t have the time available for a job. They have other priorities, such as academics and extracurricular activities.  This past summer, Konkoli worked as a dishwasher and busser for the restaurant Pizzology.

“I chose to quit my job when school started because I realized how hard it was to juggle my school work with my job and still excel at both,” he said.

Even though a job did not seem right for Konkoli at the time, he still reaped the benefits of working at this young of an age.

“Getting a part-time job over the summer really helped me learn how to be responsible for myself outside of school, so I don’t regret taking the job at all,” Konkoli said.

Students like Nick Konkoli are not uncommon. According to Pew Research, there are multiple reasons why less teens have had jobs in recent years. The fact that more schools have been starting before Labor Day, more students are taking summer classes, and more are doing unpaid community service work or internships has caused students to have a lack of available time for a part-time job. The study showed that over the past decade the summer employment rate for teens has dropped from an average 62.6 percent in 2000, to an average of 44 percent in the summer of 2014.

While there are many reasons that show why the teen employment rate has continued to drop over the past few decades, Trisler still believes teens should make an effort to fit work into their schedule and prepare for a future in the workforce.

“To all students who are considering getting a job,” Trisler said, “Go get a job. Get a terrible one that you hate even, it makes a better story. I used to work for the Carmel Street Department while in high school.  Do you know when you see dead animals on the roads in Carmel?  Did you ever think about whose job it was to clean that up?  Yeah, that’s the job of the lowest level employee at the Carmel Street Department, which is usually a high school kid.  I did that. It was gross, but it was kinda fun, and it made a good story.”Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 11.48.57 AM