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Teens facing higher unem­ployment

Workforce Solutions Alamo offers help for low-income youth

SAN ANTONIO - Gabriel Edwards, 19, is spending his summer at the amusement park. But he's not playing -- he's working.

"I need the paycheck to pay for school right now, so I can finish my welding degree," he said.

For a lot of people in his age group, it's a bit of a bummer summer because finding work can be a full-time job.

Like Edwards, 17-year old Monalisa Escobedo also found employment at Morgan's Wonderland.  But, that wasn't until after she had applied at a half dozen job sites.

"I went a lot of places," she said. "People would be ahead of me in applications."

While overall unemployment for the state is 6.9 percent, the numbers are much greater for the younger workforce.

The state unemployment rate for 20 to 24 year olds last year was 17 percent, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

And, for 16- to 19-year-olds, it was a whopping 31 percent.

One reason for the greater numbers is more competition, and not just from other teens. A growing number of adults have taken jobs the teens often seek to try to makes ends meet.

"It's very difficult for someone in that age category who has no work experience, no customer service, no experience handling money to compete with someone who might have that experience," said Eva Esquivel with Workforce Solutions Alamo.

To aid youth in a job search or to make themselves more employable, Workforce Solutions Alamo is inviting qualified people to participate in its Youth Services program.

An orientation will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at three career centers: 1499 Hillcrest St., 6723 S. Flores  St. and 4535 E. Houston St.

To qualify participants must have a high school diploma or GED and meet low-income criteria.


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