How to make students’ summers productive

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NEW YORK (PIX11) – School’s out and many eager young people are spending their vacations earning a paycheck.

But even those students who have not yet secured a summer gig still have a chance to work their way through summer.

Suzanne Rust, lifestyle editor for Family Circle magazine, offers these suggestions for parents and students looking for a teen-appropriate summer job:

1. Use your resources:

  • Summer Jobs + is a comprehensive nationwide job bank started in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Labor
  • Youth Jobs + is a one-stop online shop formed by President Obama that highlights businesses and non-profit organizations that are looking for young summer employees.
  • Consider browsing these easy-to-navigate websites for job listings sorted by location and category:

2. Network like crazy:

  • Many kids find jobs through their parents. For the parents: check your address book for anyone who might be willing to hire your teen. Then have your child rehearse a script with you before he picks up the phone

3. Cast a wide net:

  • Typical jobs for teens are retail, babysitting, dog walking, lifeguard, food services, and internships, some of which are paid.
  • Check with your local community center, church or synagogue to see if they need help is a good place to start.
  • Check out any local museums or historical sites.

4. Know your worth:

  • Teens with any extra or unusual credentials or training have much better odds of success.
  • CPR and first-aid training, taught at YMCAs usually for less than $100 for single-day classes, make any potential employee stand out from the crowd.
  • A child applying for office jobs will have an edge if she’s proficient in PowerPoint or Excel.

5. Volunteer:

  • Kids willing to work without pay can still see big rewards, namely the development of important new skills. Plus, adding that summer volunteer or community service project to his/her resume will make finding a paying job next summer that much easier.

6. Get creative:

  • If your teen is tech savvy, they can help out family and friends who aren’t for a fee.
  • Are they musically talented? They can see if their community centers or churches have functions where they are hiring musicians, maybe a friend might want a piano player for a party. Have your child set their rates and ask around.
  • Can they cook or bake? Friends and family might be more than willing to order a custom cake or cookies and pay your child instead of a shop.
  • Are they an excellent student? They can offer summer tutoring for other kids, maybe someone who is struggling through summer school.
  • Are they an ace chess player? Soccer or tennis star? They can help sharpen the skills of another kid.

To work in New York state, anyone younger than 18 and older than 14 must show an employment certificate, often referred to as “working papers.”

Depending on the type of work, children must obtain one of the below papers:

  • Student Non-Factory Employment Certificate—AT-18 (blue paper): Issued to youth ages 14 and 15 who plan to work at permitted occupations during vacations or after school hours
  • Student General Employment Certificate – AT-19 (green paper): Issued to youth ages 16 and 17 who attend school and plan to work during vacations or after school hours
  • Full-Time Employment Certificate—AT-20 (salmon paper): Issued to youth ages 16 and 17, who are not attending school or who are leaving school for full-time employment
  • Special Occupation Permits, including Newspaper Carrier Permit—AT-23 (): For youth ages 11 to 18 who deliver, or sell and deliver to homes or places of business

Applications are available in New York City (throughout the five boroughs) at local public high school offices. Visit Department of Education’s District Family Advocates or call 718-935-2000 for more information.

New York State has a youth portal that helps potential job seekers and their parents prepare to enter the workforce:

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