Summer job market is much sunnier for students

Posted Friday, May. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
Where the jobs are Hotels, manufacturers and retailers are among the leaders in hiring summer workers, according to a recent survey. Below is the percentage of companies with plans for summer hiring. • Leisure and hospitality: 47 percent • Manufacturing: 34 percent • Information technology: 34 percent • Retail: 33 percent • Office support: 27 percent • Customer service: 22 percent • Information technology: 20 percent • Engineering: 18 percent Source: CareerBuilder

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No excuses, kids. After several tough years during and after the recession, prospects for landing a summer job are looking up.

Six Flags wants to hire 300 more employees for its Arlington theme park and Hurricane Harbor water park by the end of June.

Lockheed Martin needs a few college students in engineering and business for its paid internship program in Fort Worth. And shows more than 2,000 job openings in Tarrant County, from fast-food servers to sales associates.

¡°The market is improving for students,¡± said Tabitha Smith, program manager for Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County. ¡°Transportation is an issue. The job might be there, but the transportation may not be there.¡±

Nationally, the summer job picture continues to brighten. Last year, 1.4 million teens ages 16 to 19 got a job, a 46 percent increase from 2011, when the labor market was still in the doldrums, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This week, the summer job forecast by¡¡said nearly 30 percent of employers reported plans to hire seasonal workers, up from about 21 percent from 2008 to 2011.

¡°The summer forecast shows yet again that although the jobs recovery has been slow, employers are more confident today than they were three or four years ago,¡± said¡¡Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America.

Many jobs are also paying better, according to the employer surveys. CareerBuilder said two-thirds of employers will pay $10 or more to their summer hires, up 64 percent from last year. said hourly summer job wages are expected to increase to $11.50 and higher.

¡°This is the first time we¡¯ve seen wages move in more than two years for summer jobs,¡± said Courtney Moyer, spokeswoman for ¡°Companies are planning to hire more and pay more.¡±

Six Flags pay ranges from minimum wage, now $7.25, to $9, said Tyrone Taylor, director of administration for the Arlington theme park. Taylor said workers are needed at all levels, from food service to security guards.

¡°The park opened daily this week,¡± he said. ¡°Right now, we¡¯re focusing on adult hires, until the students get out of school.¡±

Six Flags hopes to add 300 employees to the staff before the end of June and an additional 100 to 200 the rest of summer as openings occur, Taylor said.

¡°Students have a lot of activities, so we try to be flexible with their schedule,¡± he said.

This year, students have less adult competition for jobs at the park, Taylor said.

¡°We are seeing less adults apply than in the last two years,¡± he said. ¡°But 65 percent of our staff is 18 or older. We need them for the spring and weekday operations while school is in session.¡±

Students can apply at After completing an application and several tests, most are asked to call to schedule an interview, Taylor said. The company also calls applicants once they¡¯re in the system for an interview.

Lockheed Martin¡¯s website showed nine openings for paid summer internships in Fort Worth. Candidates should be enrolled in one of several engineering programs or in business or operations management programs.

¡°The interns do meaningful work and get a real feel for what this business is,¡± said Ken Ross, spokesman for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in west Fort Worth.

The internship program pays more than the typical summer job, Ross said, but he declined to specify the rate. Another benefit: Around half of those who intern eventually move into full-time positions across the corporation after they graduate, Ross said.

Low-income high school students can apply for jobs through a summer youth program at Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County, where wages are subsidized by the Texas Workforce Commission, Smith said.

¡°We¡¯re looking for between 100 and 150 students to go through the program this year,¡± she said. The program is year-round but includes a summer job, she said.

Partners that provide jobs include Arlington and Fort Worth, public libraries, animal shelters and workforce centers, Smith said. For more information, call 817-413-4400 or visit

While most employers require an online application, recruiters suggest following up with a phone call or showing up in person to speak with a manager.

¡°Following up is a good rule of thumb,¡± Moyer said. ¡°And show that you are flexible ¡ª you can open at 6 a.m. or close at midnight. When they ask on the application about your availability, click every box.¡±

If you don¡¯t have job experience, Smith suggests beefing up your r¨¦sum¨¦ by listing volunteer jobs and involvement in school and civic groups.

Workforce Solutions also offers free workshops every week on r¨¦sum¨¦ writing and interview techniques, including how to dress, at its six centers throughout Tarrant County.

Don¡¯t wait much longer before getting those applications out. SnagAJob¡¯s employer survey said 77 percent of managers hope to complete all hiring by the end of May ¡ª just two weeks away.

¡°It¡¯s not too late,¡± Moyer said. ¡°But you may have to get more creative. Don¡¯t just look at being a lifeguard. Office jobs are also available at temporary agencies.¡±

Another source for part-time summer employment is, which lists openings for baby sitters, pet walkers and similar jobs for young adults.

Teresa McUsic¡¯s column appears Saturdays.

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