Editor’s Note: National Student Employment Week has passed, but a summer job remains a right-of-passage for many high school students. It might be a teen’s first taste of freedom offered by a paycheck, it might represent saving up for something special, it might be a step toward saving for college or transition to living independently. Just like with fully-sighted peers, youth with visual impairments (low vision and blindness) benefit tremendously from exploring the world of work through having a summer job. Research has shown that paid work experiences in high school lead to more successful post-secondary transitions to employment for blind and low vision youth. For children in our community, a summer job offers many pay-offs beyond a paycheck
Teens, Are You Strapped for Cash? Start Planning for a Summer Job
Want to earn cash this summer, prepare for adulthood, and be part of a team? Yes, you say? Then it’s time to look for summer work.
To start, consider the needs in your neck of the woods.
Orlando was my home during my high school years; as you can imagine, theme parks and restaurants required additional summer staff. The same is true in coastal cities and other summer-vacation destinations, I’m sure.
If you live where farmland abounds, I’ll bet your town has unique work that needs to be done by willing, hard-working folks like yourself.
Perhaps you have personal or professional connections with folks in your community who have needs you can fill. Maybe your neighbor is in need of a summer babysitter, your friend’s parent owns a business that needs summer support, or your YMCA is hiring summer camp counselors.
Can you write, paint, bag groceries, take orders, tutor, coach a sport, clean windows, walk and feed animals, water plants, assemble sub sandwiches, or scrub pools? What else could you do if trained?
The Interview Guys has an extensive list of teen summer job ideas, several of which had never crossed my mind. Read through the list to help brainstorm needs you can fill.
Ask your parents, teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI), and vocational rehabilitation counselor for suggestions.
Next, consider your transportation.
Are there any jobs available in or near your neighborhood? Where is your nearest public bus stop? Are your Orientation and Mobility skills proficient enough to utilize the bus system? What is the cost of a taxi or Uber ride? Could you work in the office of a parent or neighbor and reimburse the driver for gas money? Can you ride-share with a co-worker?
It will then be time to conduct a successful job search. [Utilize the link; it’s filled with helpful information and resources!]
Ah, one more thing. Don’t forget to identify the specific accommodations for vision loss you will utilize on the job and “show and tell” them at your job interviews.
Whether your job search is tremendously successful, disheartening, or somewhere in-between, your experience will prepare you for future work.
Best of luck on your summer job hunt!