The Importance of Teenage Employment


Jared Winkler

Groundhouse Coffee in Gardner, Kansas

Maci Shafer and Caroline Clarke

When you walk into a restaurant, fast food place, or even a grocery store, most of the people employed are teenagers. However, when looking at Kansas as a whole, the unemployment of teenagers is at an all-time high.

Employment among teenagers goes up significantly between the months of April and June. In July 2022, there were over 20 million teens employed between the ages of 16 and 24 years old and it rose to 2.1 million youth employed.

“75% of the employees are teenagers here,” said Angela Hammers, General Manager at Freddys Frozen Custard and Steakburgers.

Many teenagers start looking into jobs when they are around the age of 14 to 16. Jobs can offer a lot of benefits, whether it’s money or to help you in your future. They help build resumes and get job experience.

“I think the benefits of a teenager having a job is to develop a work ethic to help them later on when they decide what career they want to have. So it helps them learn responsibility,” Hammers said. 

There are many opportunities to get jobs. Several businesses hire seasonal employees that can work well for teens. Oftentimes, businesses hire in the summertime specifically to help with business and so teenagers can have jobs. 

“The reason for that is that in fast food the turnover rate and retention rate is high,” Hammers said. “It’s kind of a stepping stone into other things so at any given time someone can put their notice in, especially with the younger generation the smallest things can set them off and they get into arguments with coworkers they don’t like what managers want them to do at any time, I am always ready for a teenager to leave.” 

According to Evolve Treatment Centers, jobs help kids develop a greater sense of self. Teens that work a reasonable amount of hours—less than 15 hours a week—get better grades than teens who don’t work. Jobs help kids learn to manage money and understand personal finance. Jobs help kids transition from youth to adulthood. Other than helping with responsibilities a job can be your getaway and you can develop many new friendships.

“I’ve seen several employees, Peyton Greene for example, come here very shy at first and then throughout the months they develop friendships and good working relationships, so I really love when that happens for the employees,” Hammers said.

According to Live About, “Meeting people at work is one of the easiest ways to make new friends. Having a job means you need to be somewhere at certain times where you’re often required to interact with others. 

While looking at employees there are many things managers look for in a person. There are the good and the bad parts. 

“A red flag with anybody is the amount of jobs they’ve had in a short period of time,” Hammers said. “Some red flags I’ve seen here is they didn’t get along with managers at their other jobs, and they leave when their friends leave jobs, that’s probably a big one.”

While the unemployment rate of teenagers in Kansas is unusually high, Gardner has many opportunities to get new jobs and employ young people.