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Austin’s top 5 jobs for teens have fewer employees than pre-pandemic

As teens start looking for summer jobs, Workforce Solutions Capital Area shares how they can get ahead and make an impression.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin’s job market remains competitive for higher pay – and that’s true for teenagers in the area as well.

Data provided by Workforce Solutions Capital Area shows these top five jobs for 16- to 19-year-olds.

  • Food preparation (40.4%)
  • Restaurant hosts (40.1%)
  • Fast food cashiers (27.8%)
  • Umpires or referees (23.2%)
  • Amusement or recreation attendants (18.9%)

But as summer gets closer and teens start looking for jobs, they may be more focused on finding one that fits into their career trajectory or that comes with better pay, according to Jessica Garay, the director of career awareness and K-12 partnerships for Workforce Solutions Capital Area.

“Teenagers are smart,” Garay said. “They want to look for a career pathway that provides a career trajectory in a career that helps them grow and continue their education and training so they are motivated to work. It's just all about connecting them to the right opportunities.”

In the top five occupation categories for the 16- to 19-year-old age group, the number of employees has dropped compared to 2019. That year, the five occupations had 39,948 employees in the Austin area. 

As of late last year, the workforce dropped to 36,178.

Workforce Solutions attributes that to some of the industries taking a hit during the pandemic and still trying to recover, combined with teens focusing on finding more fitting jobs.

When it comes to looking for a job this summer, it’s important for teens to come to an interview with questions prepared and to come ready to learn, Garay said.

“Build a résumé that really outlines the experience you have, whether it be through a career and technical education course, whether it be your GPA, volunteer experience or even employment you had last summer. You want to come prepped with the résumé but also dress to impress,” Garay said. “They're looking for young people who are eager to work, eager to learn, who will show up on time and who will really succeed and allow the company to invest in that young person.”

So far, Workforce Solutions has hosted five in-school career fairs and plans to host 10 more this spring, Garay said.

The Austin Youth Career Fest is expected to bring more than 2,500 students from 30 schools to the Austin Central Library on Thursday. Students will be able to explore careers, and the event usually features some of the area’s top employers, like Dell Technologies, Samsung and Circuit of the Americas. Austin Mayor Steve Adler is also expected to be there.

The City of Round Rock's Parks and Recreation Department will also host a summer job fair on Friday starting at 4:30 p.m. at the Rock'n River Water Park. There are 350 job openings for positions such as lifeguards, cashiers, swim instructors and summer camp counselors. Lifeguards will also receive a cash bonus of $125. You must be at least 15 years old to apply.

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