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What we learn from the work we do as teenagers

Many teens work their first job in a fast food venue
Flickr user silverlinedwinnebego
Many teens work their first job in a fast food venue

This summer Michigan teenagers faced an employment rate of 30% which meant that 84,000 teenagers who wanted to work were un-able to find jobs.

Teen unemployment is a big deal. By not working, teens miss out on acquiring new life skills which can help them move on to better-paying jobs as adults. Unemployed teens are also more likely to become unemployed adults.

Many adults who did find work as teenagers say those early jobs had significant meaning in their lives. Here are Brittany Mitchell, Joe Hendricks, & Mickey Sperlich talking about what they learned from those jobs.


Of course, there are always the more “un-traditional” kinds of jobs that teenagers sometimes do. Michigan Radio intern Cade Sperlich spoke with Mickey Sperlich, Katherine Riesing, and Marney Hawkman about their early adventures in employment.


Let us know what kind of work you did as a teen, and if you’re a young person we’d like to know if you’ve been able to find work. Share your voice on our Facebook page.

Kyle Norris is from Michigan and spent ten years as a host and reporter with Michigan Radio, the state’s largest NPR-affiliate. He lives in Seattle and works as a substitute host and producer at KNKX.
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