August 16, 2022

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Virus ‘Dramatically’ Narrows Teenagers’ Summer Job Prospects

“They give us a picture of them playing a sport, and we crop out what they want, or add stuff,” Mr. Stupka said. A basic edit is $8, and more detailed changes are $15; customers pay via Venmo or other money-transfer apps.

Kamden Wilson, 16, said he considered the photo editing work a supplement to another job, making sandwiches at a Jimmy John’s. “I tried mowing lawns,” he said, “but it didn’t work out.”

Here are some questions and answers about summer employment this year:

My teenager has tried unsuccessfully to find a summer job. Should I pay her?

For families that can afford it, agreeing to compensate teenagers for work around the house can be an option, said Janet Bodnar, a longtime writer about children and money for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine and the author of “Dollars & Sense for Kids.” Parents could agree on a weekly or monthly allowance, then offer opportunities for their children to earn more for special projects — say, clearing brush in the yard or cleaning out the basement.

The pandemic presents opportunities for teenagers to help out in ways that may not have previously been deemed worthy of pay. For instance, they could help supervise or tutor younger siblings while parents work at home, performing a much-needed service, and could perhaps be paid for their efforts. Ms. Bodnar also said that if teenagers couldn’t find a job when searching in May, they might want to try again — if they’re comfortable with safety precautions being taken — as states opened up.

“Don’t be immediately discouraged,” she said. “There may be more opportunities than you think.”

Are city youth job programs an option?

Thousands of teenagers, especially from low-income and minority families, rely on city-based summer job programs to earn workplace skills and supplement family income. This year, many cities are cutting back because of the pandemic. But about 70 percent of programs will continue in some fashion this summer, even if they have to move to virtual offerings because of the pandemic, said Jennifer Steinfeld, director of entrepreneurship and economic development with the National League of Cities.

The Philadelphia Youth Network, for example, will offer its annual WorkReady program, adapted for the pandemic. About 2,000 positions will remain traditional ones, putting young people to work at summer recreational camps. The remainder of the program will be delivered online, covering topics like the building of an online digital identity, financial literacy and career exploration. Participants have the opportunity to earn up to $595 for completing the courses over the summer, said Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, chief executive of the youth network.