Across the country it's hard to tell, but here in the Twin Cities there's an intentional effort to hire teenagers and to identify the best and brightest workers of the future.
With a beaming smile, 16-year-old Treyvon Blaylark is fine-tuning his pitch and trying to close the deal on a summertime job.
"I'm well rounded, I like people, I like opportunities, I like working," said the Armstrong High School 10th grader, listing off his strengths.
Blaylark joined hundreds of other teens at a job fair Saturday at the Hennepin County Library. Dozens of companies from Target and Izzy's Ice Cream are intentionally hiring local teens.
"We need those employers to be a part of the conversation with our schools, with our libraries and all the placing supporting the teens," teen services librarian Ali Turner said.
Despite these efforts and the economic recovery that's underway, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the teen unemployment rate in this country is hovering around 25 percent -- one of the highest since the 1950s.
While young people are doing better in Minnesota, it's still tough finding an entry level job because of the lingering effects of the recession and competition from older workers.
So, to get hired, Meredith Heery with Lund's and Byerly's says teens have to set themselves apart from the competition.
"If they're serious about the job, I want them to demonstrate that by how they look," Heery said.
And in this digital age, companies like Rock Your Block believe technology-savvy teens can be an asset to any company and should not be underestimated.
"If they come to you and say, ‘You know what, I like this job, I want to work with you,' give them the opportunity let them showcase what they can do," said Steven Ladin, co-founder of the app to help teens find work in their neighborhood.
Blaylark is ambitious and believes he'll be working in the medical industry one day, but he also knows the unpredictability of the economy and the job market, and says it's never too early for teens to start searching for jobs.
"It's going to help down the road," he said. "Who knows when, who knows why."
Another study shows teens without jobs who have dropped out of high school, called disconnected youth, could cost taxpayers in the long run because the government would have to spend more to support them as adults.
So, we have to find ways to support and encourage these young men and women right now.
Find a job (or a better one) at http://jobs.myfoxtwincities.com