What do teens in Ithaca need or want from adults? This week YES asked 325 of Ithaca’s teens what they thought. We heard many unique responses including wanting better options for internships, needing a less strict curfew, wishing for better food in the cafeteria, wanting “more engagement and fewer worksheets” in the classroom, less homework, more privacy, love, guidance, understanding. It turns out teens in Ithaca really need a lot from the adults in their lives, and most of them recognize their needs.
Of all the responses we heard, three stood out as the most prevalent: money, support, and respect.
Teens rely on adults for a lot of basic necessities — food, shelter, clothing, etc., but of all the necessities listed, teens reported needing money from adults above all else. With money, teens can gain independence from their parents by purchasing some of the basic necessities on their own or saving for their own futures. Although some teens get an allowance from their parents, many teens must get their own jobs in order to pay for their cell phone bill, buy a new pair of jeans, or go out to eat with their friends.
If you’re a teen trying to make some money, YES is a great place to start. During the school year, our YES Connect program is designed to help you gain the skills you need to get a part-time job on your own. We’ll help you build a resume, find places that are hiring, fill out applications, and prepare for interviews. Any teen 14+ in Tompkins County can join YES Connect, and we accept applications for this program year-round.
If you’re too overwhelmed with school work and extracurriculars during the school year to get a job, you might be interested in our Summer Jobs Program. Every summer, we hire teens to work at a variety of places around town, including summer camps, local retail businesses, grocery stores, restaurants, and offices. Over the course of the summer, we also offer paid workshops for our summer program participants to gain more work-readiness skills. In order to qualify for our Summer Jobs Program, you must be at least 14 years old, live within certain local municipalities, and/or meet certain income qualifications. We start accepting applications for our Summer Jobs Program toward the end of March.
One teens said it best when they responded, “Support us when we need help, but trust us to take on our own responsibilities.” Teens recognize that they can’t do everything on their own. They hope the adults in their lives will support them as they try new things and develop their world view. According to one teen, they want to “feel safe expressing their feelings and experimenting with new ideas.”
YES Provides support for teens throughout their involvement with our program. From the moment they grab our application, we make it known that we are here to help. When a teen enrolls in our program, we give them immediate feedback on their application and interview so they can improve for the next time they apply for a job. Through YES Connect, we support our participants as they build an action plan to meet their work-related goals, and we follow up regularly once their goal is accomplished to see if there is any other support we can offer them. Through our Summer Jobs Program, we offer direct support navigating the world of work as our YES Reps check in on our participants and observe them at work at least once a week.
Part of supporting teens means recognizing that “success” looks different for every individual. For one teen, success may be getting a part time job and keeping it for at least one year, while for another, success may mean learning some skills in our program but ultimately realizing that now isn’t a good time to get a job. No matter what success looks like for you, YES is here to support you through any of your work-related needs.
Respect means recognizing that someone is important and should be treated as such. Teens often get the sense that adults look down on them or treat them in a patronizing way. Although teens are still learning and growing, they want to be taken seriously and seen as young adults, rather than children. One student remarked, “Someone can be a useful member of society, even if they are a teen.”
At YES, we treat our participants with respect. We believe that every teen is an individual who can succeed, and teens must be partners in their own success. Getting a job is one of the best ways to connect with your community and to be a truly useful member of society. YES wants to empower you to get a job and gain more respect from the adults in your life.
While YES probably can't give teens EVERYTHING they might need or want from adults in their lives, there is a lot we can offer. For more information about our programs, stop by the YES table at outreach or call the YES office at 273-8364.
This week, YES asked 300 Ithaca teens whether or not they have a résumé. Only about 80 teens reported having a résumé and 20 were either in the process of building one or had one that needed updates. Two thirds of teens did not have a résumé at all, and many of them weren’t even sure what a résumé was.
In response to the many questions that came up about résumés this week, here are some answers to some of the most pressing résumé FAQs.
What is a résumé?
A résumé is a document summarizing a person’s education, qualifications, skills and experiences. A teen résumé might look like this...
Who can build a résumé?
Anyone can build a résumé. Even if you’ve never worked before, your experiences at school or extracurricular activities or even volunteering can be turned into a résumé that highlights your skills like this...
Why build a résumé?
Many job applications, even for part-time or seasonal employment, require that you submit a résumé in addition to other application materials. Submitting a résumé and an application may seem redundant, since they often contain similar information, but failing to follow directions when applying for a job can signal to a potential employer that you might be the kind of employee who doesn’t follow their directions.
When should I update my résumé?
Any time you are applying to a new job you should take a look at your résumé and see if it needs to be updated. If you have an “Objective” or “Summary” statement at the top of your résumé, you’ll want to tailor that to fit each specific job you’re applying for. Whenever you work at a new job, add it into the “Experience” section of your résumé.
Do I really need a résumé?
As a high school student applying for a part-time, after school job, a résumé isn’t typically required in order for you to get a job. The benefit to having a résumé, even if it only lists your relevant skills, is that most teens your age don’t have a résumé to submit with their job applications. Having a résumé sets you apart and makes you look just a little more serious about job acquisition than you résuméless counterparts. Sometimes having a résumé will tip the scales in your direction just enough to land you an interview.
How can I build a résumé?
There are many templates and websites online designed to help you create a nicely formatted résumé. Most online resources are geared toward adults or people who already have a working résumé, which isn’t always useful to a teen trying to build their first résumé. If you are a teen and you have no idea where to begin when it comes to building a résumé, YES is here to help. Click here to use our résumé building tool, then call the YES office at 273-8364 to schedule an appointment to go over your résumé with a YES Rep.
This week, YES asked 465 Ithaca teens if they had a summer job this year. The results were split 50/50, with 232 teens saying they had a summer job and 233 saying they had not. Those who did not hold a summer job had great summers volunteering, playing sports, traveling, and attending camps, but those who worked earned money while practicing valuable, real-life skills.
Summer jobs are a great way for teens to get a taste of what a real-world work experience might be like. Working at a summer camp could help a teen realize that they want to pursue a career working with kids. A job in retail might help them develop their customer service skills, which they are likely to use throughout their working-life. Farming or gardening can teach teens about where their food comes from and give them skills they may need to successfully grow their own food in the future. If nothing else, summer jobs are a great way for teens to make their own money and develop independence.
Check out what having a summer job meant for some of these YES teens.
"Through my job at the Youth Farm, I learned to be more of a leader."
Youth Farm Project Crew Leader
"I've always wanted to work in retail. Being in a musical environment was great, and I got to learn about guitar repair."
Ithaca Guitar Works Sales and Repair Assistant
"I thought working with kids would be low key. I went to camp here, and I thought being a counselor would be like being a camper. It’s definitely harder than I thought, but I do really like it."
SewGreen Camp Counselor
"I loved waking up every morning to work on the mosaic! I've never done this kind of work, so I learned a lot from this job."
1st Street Mosaic Project
Apprentice Mosaic Maker
"I love teaching dance lessons, I'm good with kids, I'm responsible, and I'm hard working. This job allowed me to use my strengths."
Armstrong School of Dance Camp Counselor
"I acquired a lot of new skills that relate to retail, and I had fun learning how to make jewelry and advertising the store on social media."
Thrive Ethical Fashion Store Associate
"Working at Durland and helping with the Prisoner Express program was the perfect first job. It helped me find my strengths and weaknesses."
Durland Alternatives Library Assistant
"This job provided an awesome, new experience. I learned about soldering copper pipes, various plumbing tips, and ways to fix plumbing problems."
City of Ithaca Building Maintenance Assistant
"I love working at the pool. I learned to stay positive, be nice, and to be patient with people."
Alex Haley Pool Swim Aide and Cashier