Fort Campbell | May 11, 2017
Johnathan Dorminey, Fort Campbell High School junior, carried around a stack of brochures and flyers that continued to grow as he walked from booth to booth May 4 during the FCHS Teen Hiring Fair.
Dorminey paused at the Army National Guard booth, taking a moment to pick up a few handouts and speak with Sgt. Jorden Charles, recruiting and retention officer for Kentucky Army National Guard.
“I’m looking into the National Guard,” Dorminey said. “I’m kind of back and forth between the military and culinary school. I’m thinking about joining the National Guard because both my parents served in the military, it’s just kind of in my Family blood. I’ve also looked at opportunities to be a chef in the Army, but I’m having a hard time making a decision.”
Several agencies hosted booths during the hiring fair, including the Exchange, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Publix.
Stacy Daniels, FCHS guidance counselor, said the hiring fair was held in partnership with Army Community Service to help students prepare for life after high school.
“As a [Department of Defense Education Activity] school we want our students to be career ready. That is one of our primary goals,” she said. “In the fall we focus a lot on college readiness to prepare our seniors especially for college applications. We decided in the spring we are going to focus more on careers and give our students of hiring age an opportunity to explore some of the careers available in our local areas.”
Having a job at a young age can help teenagers be more responsible and make smart financial decisions, Daniels said.
In the days before the hiring fair, David Keesee Sr. and Jody Camp, Army Community Service employment managers, visited the high school and conducted workshops to help the teenagers develop their interviewing skills and build their resumes.
“The students have come [to the Teen Hiring Fair] with some very nice looking resumes,” Keesee said. “I am so proud. It was very good.”
In addition to working with military spouses, which is about 90 percent of their clientele, ACS also manages veterans and dependents, Keesee said.
“These are the types of things we do with our youth, but we also have a network of information for them to be able to look for jobs on post and off post,” he said. “One of the lead jobs right now is lifeguards, [the Exchange] is looking for people this summer.” In 2016, the number of employed youth ages 16 to 24 years old increased by 1.9 million, bringing the total to 20.5 million in the United States of America, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. During the summer months, April to July, these numbers fluctuated by 1.9 million, to account for students – high school, college, and graduate – taking on summer jobs.
“It’s never too early to start, especially with the way the economy is today,” Keesee said. “Most households now it takes everybody. Having the youth of today being able to get an allowance is pretty difficult now.”
In July 2016, 25 percent of employed youth worked in the leisure and hospitality industry, which includes food services, according to the BLS. The retail industry employed 18 percent, while education and health services employed 13 percent.
In Clarksville, one employer of minors is Publix, a supermarket chain. Mangers from the store participated in the Teen Hiring Fair and passed out “interest sheets” to gather information from high school students who showed interest in applying.
Dewayne Moore, retail staffing coordinator for the Nashville area, said the staff at Publix is comprised of about 60 percent part-time workers and 40 percent full-time workers, with about half of their positions filled by minors.
Moore said Publix has high expectations for their minor employees including strong customer service skills, positive attitudes and a passion for their job.
“With our minor employees we also work very hard to work around their schedules because a lot of them have other activities that are of value to them too, and of course school,” he said.
Dorminey said he is considering applying for a summer job at Publix to help put some money in his pockets.
Many teenagers learn the basics of social networking while working a summer job, Keesee said.
“Networking is so important,” he said. “Most youth do not have a resume, but there are so many youth who have skills. So why shouldn’t that be on paper? That’s why we want these kids to start early.”