Summer is right around the corner. It’s an excellent opportunity for young people to get their feet wet in a job that will pad their wallets while also giving them valuable work experience.
The right job can provide even more, boosting the self-confidence of young workers and perhaps compelling them toward an eventual desired career.
The jobs of summer
Opportunities arise in the hot months that aren’t necessarily as abundant the rest of the year. Being a lifeguard at a local outdoor pool is only one example of summer jobs where teens and young adults dominate the roster of employees.
Snack shacks at outdoor venues, daycare facilities for school-aged children, and caddying at golf courses are all summer jobs that take advantage of the nice weather and happen to correspond with the time young people are out of school.
If a summer job will be your very first job, don’t feel intimidated by the process of applying. Even without formal work experience, you may be qualified based on volunteer work or schooling.
Indeed, a quick search of local employers advertising specifically to youth for the summer are largely populated by food service and day camps. Forbes suggests young people look toward the following summer jobs as the best options available:
- Camp counselor
- Retail sales
- Food service
Try seeking a job where your talents will be most appreciated. If you’re great with kids, then a camp counselor position will allow you to shine. But if kids annoy you to no end, you probably don’t want to spend your summer looking after them.
Whatever job you land, be prepared to show up on time every day and do the jobs assigned to you without complaint. You never know when a summer job could lead to something more.
Working a job doesn’t always have to mean punching a time clock day after day. Youth with an entrepreneurial spirit can make their own hours as lawn care professionals, nannies, mothers’ helpers or dog walkers.
The key to being successful is to aggressively pursue customers. Treat growing your summer business as though it’s your main job and work on it every day, whether that means going door to door (with an adult in tow) to speak to neighbors about your lawn mowing rates or crafting eye-catching flyers for your babysitting services. Note that in Omaha, there are statutes that prohibit leaving flyers on cars or doors without special permits.
A job well done will be your best bet for returning customers. Do a lousy job and it’s likely your customer base will shrink to zero.
Summer job programs
The Omaha area provides summer employment programs to help young people find suitable work. Though application deadlines for these programs have passed for this year, it’s good to be aware of the programs so you are ready for next year.
The City of Omaha sponsors the Step Up! summer employment program every year. The program is available to youth in ages 14 to 21. Goodwill also hosts a summer employment program for youth and includes college preparedness programs.
Youth employment regulations
There are certain laws in place that are designed to protect employed individuals under the age of 18. These laws prohibit youth from working potentially hazardous jobs and limit the number of hours that they can worked.
The restrictions for working hours are substantially relaxed during the summer months while school is out. The State of Nebraska requires work permits for youth aged 14 and 15 to allow work hours before 6 a.m. or after 10 p.m. when school is out. Further, Nebraska specifies that youth under the age of 16 are not permitted to work in jobs where their morals may be depraved.
The rules change when youth work for parents or guardians. As long as the family business is not mining or manufacturing, there are no minimum age regulations for youth employment. The exception to this is any job where a minimum age requirement is 18, such as jobs requiring the sale of alcohol.
Employment laws and regulations for youth age 16 and under may not apply if the youth is married. And while the State of Nebraska does not issue marriage licenses to anyone under 17 – even with parental consent – this is not the case with all states.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, youth under the age of 20 may be paid at a minimum wage of $4.25 per hour, but this only applies to the first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment. In Nebraska, as a student you may earn a “training wage,” which is 75 percent of Nebraska’s minimum wage of $9 an hour. Certain minimum wage differences can apply with jobs where tips are involved.
Make no mistake about it – you should be paid for the work you do. State and federal laws protect you from working “off the clock,” so get to know these laws before you start working.