Arizona teenagers still struggling to find jobs

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Teens continue to struggle to find jobs. By Jennifer Thomas Teens continue to struggle to find jobs. By Jennifer Thomas

Scottsdale, Ariz. -- Teenagers continue to struggle to find jobs in the United States. As of last summer, teen employment was at its lowest level in history. In Arizona, employers are coming back to job fairs, but teenagers are still competing with adults for minimum-wage jobs.

Janet Rebollar is 16 years old and aggressively looking for a job so she can pay for a car.

“I know many teens say, ‘Oh I need a car,’” Rebollar said. “But I need one. I'm enrolled at SCC so I am taking college courses.”

Rebollar was one of about 300 students who attended a job fair at Coronado High School in Scottsdale. Twelve potential employers and some volunteer opportunities were available for consideration.
“I say to teens, 'This is the time to listen to me,'” Sheila Williams said. “Dress nicely, bring a résumé, be ready to talk to employers.”

Williams helped organize the event for Scottsdale’s Teen Employment Program. She said before the recession hit Arizona, she would fill a venue such as this with 45 vendors. At its worst, she could only find five.

“Could you be to the store by 3 without being late, without rushing?” asked Rachel Bowman of Dominic Pisano.

Pisano is a senior and wants some independence, but doesn't see that happening without a job.

“Just recently I applied to Yogurt Land, Target,” Pisano said. “If it was easy, I would have a job by now. But the way everything is, if you find a job you are lucky, if you hold a job you are even luckier.”

Bowman bluntly told us every job fair seems to be the same with dozens of people expressing interest in minimum-wage positions. She said employees at her store are staying longer, meaning less room for those wanting to get their first job.

“I will probably interview 50 or 60 of these and I will hire two,” Bowman said.

Bureau of Labor statistics show while fewer teens are getting jobs, more of them are going back to school.