News Column

Still Looking for a Summer Job? Better Get Creative

June 6, 2011

Scott Nishimura

Even if you weren't paying attention when major employers like Six Flags Over Texas were hiring summer help in the spring, there's still a chance for your teen or college student to land a summer job.

Many restaurants are still hiring, says Amanda Richardson, senior vice president of product and marketing for Snagajob, a leading website for hourly jobs. And some businesses that hired summer help earlier often see turnover in the middle of summer.

"There are definitely opportunities to go back and catch up during a second round of hiring," Richardson said.

Job seekers could also consider offering to mow lawns, baby-sit and pet-sit in their neighborhoods.

"Create your own job," Richardson says. "Those are jobs that people don't arrange earlier in the year. And it's a good opportunity to show entrepreneurship, show leadership."

Traditional major summer employers such as Six Flags Over Texas, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor and Hawaiian Falls water parks held job fairs earlier this year and hired the bulk of their seasonal help.

But Hawaiian Falls, which hires 800 summer employees, or 200 each for parks in Mansfield, Roanoke, Garland and The Colony, sees about 20 percent turnover, spokesman David Alvey said.

"We'll still hire seasonal through the middle of summer," he said.

What happens? Once it turns hot, some of the youth the parks hire decide they don't like the work, Alvey said.

"In the next 30 days, we'll have some fallout," he said. "It's the first job for a lot of the young people we hire."

Applicants must be 15 or older, and the parks are taking applications on site. Openings typically occur for ticket takers, retail, food service, ride operations and maintenance, he said. The parks' crop of lifeguards usually sees less turnover.

It's the same for Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor.

The Arlington parks typically employ 2,200 people at any given point during the summer, and experience 20 percent to 30 percent turnover, said Tyrone Taylor, director of administration. Hot temperatures and the lack of public transit in Arlington factor into the turnover, he said.

"It's probably average for the hospitality and entertainment industry," he said.

Typically in June, Six Flags Over Texas will hire an additional 200 people, and Hurricane Harbor will bring on another 100, Taylor said. Over the summer, the parks typically hire an additional 500 people.

Job seekers who applied more than 90 days ago should reapply at if they're interested, Taylor said. The parks schedule interviews with applicants they're interested in, and no longer conduct walk-up interviews, Taylor said.

Another pool of summer jobs for people who have strong backs and stamina: laborers.

Bell Brothers Moving, a 3-year-old Fort Worth company that specializes in moving seniors, typically brings on two drivers and five laborers in the peak summer moving season for each truck the company runs, said Raegan Bell, one of the company's owners. This summer, the company plans to run five trucks. Finding employees who handle the touchy task of moving a senior is difficult, Bell said. The company's services include laying out a client's new home, packing and unpacking, mounting TVs, hanging drapes and hauling off debris.

"We'll color-code everything in the house, including what's going to children in another state, what's going to donations, what's going to storage, and what's going to their new community," Bell said.

Minimum qualifications are a high school diploma or GED, clean background check and drug screen, no visible tattoos and good physical condition. Bell said she has hired college students, but finds her best employees among people "who are a little bit older who have a drive for work."

Students going to school locally may find an inside track on finding work, if they're willing to continue past the summer.

Stephen Montana, an Arlington 19-year-old who graduated from Lamar High School last year and is studying business at the University of Texas at Arlington, caught on this summer with a catering company through a contact at a Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County office. "I was pretty much hired on the spot," he says.

The company offered full- or part-time work. Montana jumped at the chance for full-time hours -- "I need the money real bad" -- and he estimates he's working up to 35 hours a week. He expects to continue working about 30 hours a week after he returns to school in the fall.

Source: Copyright (c) 2011, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas

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