by Roma Vivas
PERMIAN BASIN- With school out and with a couple months of free time it's no surprise many teenagers are looking to make extra cash. And with "for hire" signs all over West Texas, they have plenty of jobs to choose from.
"In this really flourishing economy in the Permian Basin that youth had a much easier item finding employment for summer, temporary seasonal work," Virginia Belew, Director of Workforce Solutions Centers, said.
According to Virginia Belew, from the Regional Planning Commission, last year more than one thousand teenagers attended job fairs. This year,about half did. Belew says one reason for that increase may be because kids already had a secure job even before the school year ended.
"It's wonderful time for our youth to go and explore options and explore carriers and a variety of a job that they think is interesting in doing," Belew said.
One employer that was eager for summer to get here is Cheddar's in Midland. During the summer, half of their staff is teenagers.
"We need dishwashers, hostesses, and those type of jobs you can feel with teenagers," Marlon Henry, Cheddar's General Manager, said.
The shortage of staff is so bad in our region that Cheddar's has not taken down their "Help Wanted" signs in six months.
"The Oil field has pulled all of the middle age kids away, so we have to utilize what we have available to us," Henry said.
But working with teenagers also brings it's challenges.
"You got to stay on their back, you may tell them once, you may have to tell them two or three times to get the point that this is a job, and you are here to do a job, this isn't play time," Henry said.
Cheddar's gets many of their teen workers from Lee High School. They encourage the teens to get a job. It's all part of Lee's High School work program designed to introduce the high schoolers into the work force.