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Despite plenty of jobs, struggle comes in getting teen workers hired

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 7:08 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Job openings seem to be almost everywhere you look. With the arrival of summer break, employers are focused on teen workers, but there is a struggle in getting teens hired. It’s a problem across Kansas.

Currently on the website for KANSAS WORKS, there are more than 50,000 job openings. From that total, 5,900 are in south central Kansas. Some of those employers are even looking for people as young as 16 to fill roles. But finding the help employers are working for is a workforce problem.

At All Star Adventures near 13th and Webb Road in east Wichita, the entertainment business is short staffed and is asking customers for patience.

“I’d like to have 100 people walk in and get hired, but on the flipside, the customers that we are having, the patience and the understanding is probably the most important thing right nor for the staff I do have,” All Star Adventures General Manager Tom Smith said. I’ve got to keep them.”

In a normal year, All Star Adventures needs 100 people.

“We’re at about 50 and trying to operate the park. It’s tough. It’s real tough,” Smith said.

He said the challenge is finding reliable staff.

“They want to work three days, then they disappear, call in,” Smith said. “Last Sunday, we had nine call ins. It’s a tough deal.”

The Wichita Workforce Center near 21st and Amidon is also having a difficult time finding teen employees. The center is hosting five teen job prep camps that are free and can handle 100 students. Teens even get paid at the end of the weeklong camps, but so far, only 58 have registered.

Among the camps and the available

“It’s sad to see so many empty chairs,” said Camp HYPE Facilitator Stephanie Anderson. “I’m hoping that the camps that are coming up and the camps in the next couple of years, it grows more and more.”

Those at the workforce center encourage teens to apply for summer jobs or summer programs.

“I’m saying it to the youth and I’m saying it to the parents, ‘go out and get a job, build your sills up, find out more about yourself, build connection and help build up this city, as well in doing it,’” Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas Work Experience Supervisor Aliex Kofoed. “And go home and take money home. You are missing out on over $2,000 you could be taking home for the summer.”

If you want to sign up for Camp HYPE, click here.

Trade Skills Camp (Ages 16-17) – 10 spots open

Textron Aviation Camp (Ages 14-15) – 8 spots open

Spirit AeroSystems Camp (Ages 14-15) – 13 spots open

Attention high school juniors and seniors! Paid workshop opportunities ahead! Camp HYPE is hosting a Trade Skills Camp...

Posted by Workforce Center on Tuesday, June 8, 2021

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