By Emily Landgraf
Freshman Amy Crowe sent her application for a summer job to the Kiddie Academy in Hillsborough, N.J., in March. She hasn’t heard much from the day-care center since then.
Crowe is looking for a job at a day-care center to gain experience working with children since she is an elementary education major. Unfortunately, she may not get the chance this summer.
“I applied in March and they told me, ‘We’ll call, don’t worry,’” Crowe said. “And then I didn’t hear from them for a while. I called last week to check in, and now they’re saying they won’t know until mid-May because they don’t know how many previous employees are coming back.”
Crowe said she called seven or eight other daycares in her town. None is seeking new employees.
Students applying for new jobs are likely to share Crowe’s experience in the face of the economic crisis. Many students are having difficulty finding jobs because older applicants are taking positions usually filled by younger employees, while others are able to go back to previous employers.
The unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds is 13.3 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“It’s just really frustrating because I need to start paying back my loans and I just really need the money,” Crowe said. “I’m really hoping Kiddie Academy calls me back. I’m not sure what I’m going to do if they don’t.”
Freshman Nari Watanabe is facing similar problems in his search for a summer job.
“It has been extremely hard for me to find a job.” he said. “Besides the two jobs that I applied for here, I applied for at least nine jobs, and I’ve only gotten one interview.”
Watanabe has been looking for a summer job since February and still hasn’t had any luck. He has applied to two AMC movie theaters, Target, ShopRite and GameStop, among other places.
Some students are remaining optimistic despite the difficulties. Junior Emily Di Paolo is hoping to secure a job at Rider over the summer.
“I’m looking to get a job at Admissions, mainly because I need the money,” she said. “The place where I worked at home closed down because there just wasn’t enough business to stay open. I’m going to be taking summer class, so I’m hoping to get a job on campus.”
It seems, though, that the students applying for new jobs or with less work experience are the ones having all the problems finding jobs. Students who already hold jobs or who are able to work for family businesses seem to be less affected.
Sophomore Brian Hicks is one of the lucky individuals who have a job to return to. “I’ve had my job for four years, and I’m very grateful to have a job to come back to for the summer,” he said.
Hicks is glad he does not have to worry about finding a job over the break.
Freshmen Megan Moyer and Keith Warncke also have jobs waiting for them when they return home for the summer.
“I’ve worked at Target for two years, and I took an educational leave of absence,” Moyer said. “So I’ll have my job when I get back.”
“I’ve been working at ShopRite for three years now,” Warncke said. “I mean, I have to reapply, but I’ll be making the same amount of money as I was when I left. I just lose seniority.”
Freshman John Vassos will be working for his father, an investor, over the summer.
“I know the economy’s not so great, and a lot of people are hesitant about investing,” said Vassos. “I’m going to get really good job experience doing this, though, since I’m a marketing major.”
Junior Stephanie Pypniowski’s former place of employment practically begged her to come back.
“I’m going back to the job I’ve had for the past two summers,” she said. “I wanted to do an internship over the summer so I could focus on my schoolwork in the fall and the spring, but I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to make money because I don’t know when another opportunity is going to come around.”
Pypniowski believes the reason she has a job this summer is because of her previous experience.
“They were really desperate,” she said. “I got four e-mails and two phone calls. I think it had more to do more with training. I already have experience. I’m more efficient, and this way they won’t have to hire as many workers.”
Students having trouble finding jobs in Mercer County might still be able to find work. The county announced last week that it will use funding from the federal stimulus package to create a career program for youth aged 14 to 24.