Competition for summer jobs heating up

For some teens, summer may be freedom from schoolwork and responsibilities — but for others, it’s all about working.

Students lined up Wednesday at CareerLaunch, cosponsored by the San Francisco Unified School District and Gap Inc., to start their searches for summer jobs.

The chance to hone their résumés, try their hand at interviews and fill out applications gives first-time workers the confidence they need to secure a job, according to Kristen Mitchell, an English teacher at Marshall High School who volunteered at the job fair.

Some students, such as 15-year-old Vanessa Warren, might have skills that can land them a job.

“I’ve been taking care of elderly family members since I was 7,” said Warren, a Marshall student who was looking for a job working with seniors or children. “I'm tired of being broke, and I want to help out my family.”

A bevy of employers, from the YMCA to Jamba Juice, talked to students Wednesday.

CareerLaunch does not guarantee job placement. Those students who do find work through the fair, however, will earn between $9.36 and $11 an hour, according to spokeswoman Claudia Sandoval.

Twenty years ago, nearly half of teens found work during the summer months, a number that has since declined to roughly one-third — the lowest percentage in 60 years, according to a recent study from the Center for Labor Market Studies.

Many qualities put teens at a disadvantage when they’re competing for jobs, according to Yuri Dew, director of the Jobs for Youth Program.

“Youths are often competing with adults for those jobs, in many cases,” Dew said.

A city program, the Mayor’s Youth Employment and Education Program, will help 950 students find jobs this summer.

Another 180 find internships through the school district’s Career Academy, according to SFUSD spokeswoman Gentle Blythe.

bwinegarner@sfexaminer.com

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