Shaheen talks youth jobs with DHS students, faculty

June 04, 2010

DOVER - As the job market shrank during the economic recession, prospective employees began competing for jobs they may not have otherwise have sought.

And as the influx of applicants put a squeeze on available jobs, teenagers were often pushed out of consideration as employers gave available openings to adults with more experience.

So as U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) looked out at more than a dozen Dover High School students and faculty Thursday morning, she pledged to support legislation that will extend financial support for youth summer jobs programs.

"It's important not just so you've got something you can earn money at," Shaheen said. "Getting a job as a young person is really important as you build a work history. If you don't have the opportunity, you are being left behind."

Shaheen met with students and staff at the Dover High School Library with a panel of supporters of youth job programs, who agreed ensuring youth employment now ensures a strong and adequate workforce in the future.

"The business community needs workers who understand the importance of coming to work on time and other job skills," said Cameron Ford, the executive director of My Turn, an organization that helps place teenagers in jobs. "It's one of the most important investments we can make in our job force."

Dwight Davis, the chair of the state Youth Council agreed, and said giving teenagers job experience now will help develop work ethic and other skills needed in the future.

Doug Tilton, the director of visitor's services at the Children's Museum of New Hampshire, said he has seen the positive effects of youth job placement services firsthand. Last summer, as the Children's Museum embarked on their first year in Dover after relocating from Portsmouth, the museum opted to hire teenagers from the My Turn program to work part-time.

Tilton said the museum treated them with the same expectations as full-time employees, and in turn the teenagers responded by stepping up their responsibility and transforming as people.

Dawn White, a junior at Dover High School, was one of those students. Once shy, White said her time at the Children's Museum helped her come out of her shell and gave her an opportunity to work at a job that she loved.

Shaheen said the Senate will consider the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, which includes financial support for youth summer jobs programs.

By:  Leslie Modica
Source: Foster's Daily Democrat