For months, we’ve been developing tactics to fight the coronavirus. We enforced social distancing, encouraged and then mandated masks, began contact tracing, and researched potentially life-saving drugs. Despite all that, cases continue to rise across the country.
As we look for new ways to combat the pandemic, young adults and teenagers could be the next key fighters. Some states and cities have expanded their COVID response to include summer job programs that are hiring teens and young adults.
Teens, like most Americans, had their job prospects seriously damaged by the virus. These response programs give them a chance to enter the workforce and do some good.
Summer Jobs for Teens
Just 23 percent of teens and young adults will be working this summer, according to the New York Times. Traditional jobs like lifeguarding, camp counseling, and bussing tables are simply unavailable this summer, leaving many young adults stranded without work. However, Connecticut, Chicago, and Maryland have introduced COVID-19 response jobs designed for teens to make an impact.
In Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont directed $2 million of coronavirus relief funds toward the Connecticut Youth Employment Program. The boost to the existing program creates more jobs for teens with community-based health organizations around the state.
“Not only will this help more youths gain employment during this difficult time, but it will also enhance the critical efforts of community health agencies in their response to the pandemic,” Gov. Lamont said in a press release.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot expanded the city’s youth employment program and added a new division designed to help with coronavirus response and other public services. The Chicago Youth Service Corps will include 2,000 young adults, and the youth employment program as a whole will help as many as 20,000.
Montgomery County, Maryland, unveiled a work program for 16 to 23-year-olds called the COVID Corps. The program works in alignment with the Montgomery County Parks Department and will deploy young adults for COVID-relief related tasks. Tasks include food distribution, community outreach, and technology support.
The Big Picture
While programs like the ones listed above are rare at this point, many more could pop up this summer. Some states with robust contact tracing plans are employing teens as well, so there are options emerging for young adults to find work this summer.
It’s important to note that while these jobs are geared toward COVID-19 response and relief, no young adults will be put in dangerous situations. Most work would be over the phone and virtual, checking up on people and spreading awareness. These programs provide great opportunities for teens to make some money and give back to society.
If you don’t live in an area that currently has these jobs available, take it up to your local county or state to suggest they start a program. After all, with the intensity of rising cases, these part-time jobs may be needed until the rest of the year.