The art of Kevin Blythe Sampson

THE ART OF
KEVIN BLYTHE SAMPSON

6/13/11

Tales of the Search for a Summer Job - NYTimes.com

Tales of the Search for a Summer Job - NYTimes.com

Tales of the Search for a Summer Job

Only one in four youths ages 16 to 19 is expected to find work this summer. Four teenagers across the country share their experience. | comment icon Tell us about your first summer job »


First Steps

First Steps

Steve Jobs likes to tell how his own career in computers was shaped by a lucky summer job. Fascinated by electronics and already brash at age 13, he looked up Bill Hewlett, of Hewlett Packard, in the Palo Alto telephone book and called him. They talked shop, and the boy ended up putting in screws on an HP assembly line. His first day, he later said, was “bliss.”

It is an archetypal American story, the summer job that helps a teenager save for a car, clothes or college, that provides a first taste of the workaday world and sometimes even a crucial steppingstone.

But the venerable rite is also an endangered one: between a historic decline in short-term jobs for teenagers and the listing economy, only one in four youths ages 16 to 19 is expected to find work this summer, made more difficult for low-income teens by shrinking federal job subsidies. In 2000, by comparison, 45 percent of teenagers worked.

A ray of hope: city groups like the Boston Private Industry Council are persuading hospitals, banks and ballparks to give paying work and invaluable experience to high school students — one of whom just might be a future Apple chief executive.
— ERIK ECKHOLM