Summer Jobs: COVID Edition

Haley Archer, Senior Writer

For most teens, working during the summer offers job experience and a way to pay for college. In the wake of coronavirus, this is no longer possible for many.

As businesses across the country have been decimated by total or near-total shutdowns, millions of workers have been left without jobs and companies are plunging into debt as profits nosedive. Even once cities reopen and people head outside again, commerce is still expected to suffer for years to come: recovery is projected to take place over the next five years, with a fully revitalized business landscape potentially out of reach for up to a decade from today. It is expected that experienced workers will be able to find steady employment by then, but 2020’s drop in business activity has sacrificed another working group: teens.

Busy with school, homework, sports and activities, teenagers mostly work seasonally, picking up jobs during the summer or Christmas rush when schoolwork is light and retailers are overrun. Because of this, teen employees are often expendable young, inexperienced, and operating under irregular hours, they are generally the first to go when businesses hit a rough patch. 

Many have already been affected by the lack of jobs available to young workers. Sophomore McKenzie Maresh originally planned to have an internship this summer, which is no longer possible due to coronavirus shutdowns. “To me, the importance of a summer job or internship is the experience of working in an office and the understanding that comes from that. Losing this means losing time in an office as well as work experience to put on my resume,” Maresh said. “This is definitely a difficult time for everyone and it is hard to predict what the future holds.”

Closed businesses have resulted in fewer opportunities to work and gain real-world experience for high schoolers, which stands to impact both work experience and future savings. However, there is still light at the end of the tunnel. As social distancing measures ease and the economy begins to reopen, more opportunities to work, volunteer, and get involved in the community are becoming available. 

And there are always opportunities for high schoolers to build resumes and gain skills while in quarantine. According to Maresh, “the inability to work this summer could open the door for taking classes online, studying for standardized tests, or other pursuits. There is always something to look forward to.”