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OYS: Teens have rough time finding summer jobs

teens lined up to apply for work

With no federal stimulus dollars funding jobs for teens, it's even harder to find summer jobs. (April 19, 2011 / WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, April 19, 2011

AUGUSTA---. One company is promising to hire more than 100 people locally.

The big talk last year was the Georgia Teen Work Program. 15,000 teens got a job, paid for by federal stimulus dollars. But without that money, just 650 teens can be paid for through the program, which means some teens have to compete against many others for a job.

Dozens of people lined up at an Augusta McDonald's today, and it wasn't for food.

"We're able to support our communities by offering these positions and opportunities," said Christine Crawford with McDonald's.

More than 500 people applied for jobs today, many of them teens looking for summer work.

"It's going to keep me occupied, something to do, keep me focused on my responsibilities," said high school student Torron Holmes.

"For students to earn money for school, and for prom and cell phones and for our younger members to start a career," Crawford said.

"I need to save for college," said A'sha Cobb, who wants to go to Augusta State. But only 150 people at area McDonald's restaurants will get hired, and teens are competing against each other.

"I don't have any experience, so it's kind of hard," A'sha said.

Just last year, teens could have been part of the Georgia Teen Work Program. But there's no federal money left.

And it's not just teens having it rough. 22-year-old Drew Hammett graduated from Mercer last May with an engineering degree. But today he's watching TV, waiting for the call.

"It was really frustrating," he said. "It's still hard to get your foot in the door, especially somebody like me who's got the degree but might lack a little experience."

Instead, he's working with a lawn maintenance company to occupy his time and make some money.

"Once the summer heat reaches us, the eight-hour days laying pine down straw and cutting grass won't seem as pleasant as it does now," he said.

And the heat is on Drew and other teens who are still hoping to find work.

Nationwide, McDonald's plans to hire 50,000 people. In our area, more than 500 people interviewed, but only about four to five employees will be hired per store.

Teenage unemployment rose to more than 24 percent nationwide in March. Georgia has the highest teen unemployment rate in the country at more than 37 percent. South Carolina isn't far behind; the state is third worst when it comes to unemployment.

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