In the summer of 1973, I was hired as a teenager into my first real job with a paycheck. That job at Jimmy’s Drive Inn in Sturgis, Kentucky paid a whopping 75 cents per hour plus all I wanted to eat.  I learned many valuable life lessons there: showing up on time; being groomed appropriately to work with the public; and budgeting my earnings for important things like gas, records and an occasional trip to the Broadview drive-in theater. The experience helped me learn the soft skills needed as a platform for life and work.

Today’s teenagers have an opportunity for summer jobs that will teach them the same skills. With the much discussed worker shortage, the teenagers and recent graduates who answer this call can literally help local small businesses get through the temporary worker shortage.  Many things contribute to the worker shortage like enhanced unemployment benefits, slow processing of unemployment claims, insufficient day care options, and school closings. These problems will eventually stabilize and life will get back to pre-pandemic days, but this combination of disruptions has created a golden opportunity for enterprising teens.

Teenagers have always wanted to change the world.  This year’s high school graduates have persevered despite the most challenging of educational circumstances. Now they have an opportunity to do something great. They can positively change the economies of the places they live by stepping up to take the jobs that more experienced workers are unwilling or unable to fill at this time. So, come on young people, rise to the occasion as young people often do by seeking out these jobs that desperately need to be filled. You will be better off in life for doing so, and you will make your hometowns better too.