Fewer teens entering workforce

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Finding a job when school gets out should not be too difficult for young people. For those looking for workers, it’s the complete opposite.

Help wanted signs are popping up all over town, getting ready for the summer rush. However, finding young people to serve up ice cream or sit by the pool is not easy.

“It can be troublesome. It can be a headache,” said Recreation Program Coordinator for Sioux Falls Parks and Recreaction, Jean Pearson.

Jean Pearson has more than 100 lifeguard positions to fill every season.  In recent years, she’s had to get creative.

“I’m helping those kids out that are looking for employment but may not have a wide open schedule, that says I can work any time between 5:30 and 8. Okay, well those people aren’t there! They don’t exist. And if they do, come see me because I haven’t met you yet,” said Pearson.

“Kids are hard to find. We actually tried to do some marketing and outreach to youth, and ironically we had problems finding a group of youth to do a focus group with us on how to reach them,” said Marcia Hultman, South Dakota Secretary of Labor and Regulation.

Secretary of Labor and Regulation, Marcia Hultman, says the struggle Pearson has been facing is becoming more and more common.

The rate of teens in the workforce in South Dakota has dropped more than 50-percent since the late 1980s.

“It might take three kids to fill one position, but you might get three great kids that stick with you long-term. With you throughout high school. They’re going to be there when they’re supposed to be there. Busy kids is what we need in the workforce, and they’re great kids to engage with. So it might be a little bit of an HR headache upfront, but it’s worth it in the long run,” said Hultman.

“I don’t want to overwhelm them with too many hours and have them be like, okay I don’t like this whole working gig at all. I don’t want that for them. I want them to come out and be very successful so we do more part-time hires than we’ve ever done before. And it’s worked out pretty well,” said Pearson.

If you’re looking for a job, or want to post a job you check out KELOLAND Employment on our website.

The state also has a database of jobs.

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