GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Ryan Gage has been looking through dozens of applications over the past couple months at his Knapp’s Corner Jimmy John’s.
“Everyone’s out of school looking for a summer job,” Gage says, “and sorting through them is difficult.”
Next door, Celebration! Cinema has made several hires for the summer season.
“Summer in the movie theater is like Christmas,” Vice President of Marketing Steve VanWagoner says. “Our screens are full of blockbuster movies. Sometimes on the weekend, our popcorn kettles never stop.”
Teenagers in Michigan trying to grab a summer job are looking at the best seasonal employment market in five years.
The Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget says 180,900 residents ages 16-19 will be employed between June and August this year.
It’s the best ratio since 2008 – but still leaves 61,900 of their peers jobless for the season.
Employers are looking for more than just able bodies when making their hires.
“If you’re coming to us to look for a job to put gas in your car, forget about it,” VanWagoner says. “We’re looking for a skill set and a talent – people with energy.”
For those who are getting their first taste of the real world, it’s an invaluable stepping stone.
“Wherever they go – after college, after high school – they can use the skills they learn here and adapt them wherever they go,” VanWagoner says.
“A perfect opportunity to walk in the door with no job experience and really build a solid work ethic,” Gage adds.