In April, the national unemployment rate for 16- to 19-year-olds was 17.7 percent. That is nearly triple the average adult rate.
A recent study by the Brookings Institute showed that only one in four of those age 16 to 19 in Chattanooga had jobs in 2012, or only half the share of similar-age workers with jobs in Chattanooga in 2000.
It’s real life, not just numbers and statistics for Chattanooga’s working-age youth.
“It was kind of devastating, walking in thinking, ‘I might get it, and I might not,'” said Watkins about dropping off an application earlier this year.
So he gave Temps for Teens a shot.
It’s the Chattanooga Department of Youth and Family Development’s three-day program designed to teach and train teens, helping them develop hard and soft skills needed to excel at resume-making, interviewing and hopefully landing a job.
The training sessions started Wednesday and ran through Friday afternoon.
“I applied with hope,” Watkins said Friday afternoon.
Christine Montgomery applied with “just a prayer, pretty much.”
Kayla Wells heard about Temps for Teens third-hand. She turned 16 in March and has been unsuccessfully looking for work.
“[Family members of a friend] brought it up to me because I had been on a job search,” she said.
The three said in their combined recent job searches, they haven’t had any luck.
Larry Green, labor market analyst at the Tennessee Department of Labor, thinks he can explain.
“I think maybe what we’re looking at is a combination of a couple of factors,” he said.