Helping Students Find Summer Work
Vol. 14 No. 7
As March turns to April, the summer season feels closer than ever—which means your students may be anticipating seasonal employment. Perhaps you’ve heard murmurings from faculty or parents that the school should formalize relationships with community employers of students.
Such a project requires a large initial investment of resources and research that must be properly maintained from year to year. Still, a database helping your students find and connect with mission-appropriate employers might benefit more than just the newly employed in the long run. With that in mind, we’ve got some key points for the Business Office to hit while collecting resources for would-be student employees.
- Determine the level of liability your school has in maintaining such a list, and vet job openings. Offering students a list of employers hiring minors for seasonal work can be considered an endorsement of these employers, which mean that your school could be liable for encouraging students to enter bad situations. Therefore, consult your school’s legal counsel for recommendations and advice on maintaining such a list. Furthermore, the school must double-check any employer’s obvious history before inclusion on a student-job list. For example, some employers only pay “under the table” without reporting student work to the government. Employers with this and other “red flags” discovered during research should not be recommended to your students.
- Take stakeholders’ recommendations seriously, but do your own investigation. Parents, teachers, and administrators may have job recommendations for students looking to pad their allowances and get valuable early work experience. Compile these initial recommendations; then, ensure that all recommendations will be suitable to pass on to the student body.
- Guide students toward mission-appropriate employers and positions. If your school’s mission guides students to serve their communities, consider putting volunteer positions on your summer work list in addition to paid opportunities. (Make sure such positions are truly volunteer work and not potentially illegal unpaid “internships”!) If your school’s mission emphasizes the importance of technology, seasonal jobs requiring troubleshooting skills might take precedence.
- Collect resources for students who are job-hunting. Students may not know where to start a summer job hunt. Parents may not have looked for a position in the last five years and could be passing on outdated job advice to their children. Therefore, consider compiling a quick list of websites and online guides from reputable sources for students to reference when beginning a job search. Resources could include résumé templates, common job scams, interview techniques, and office etiquette.
- Look into on-site training opportunities for students to gain credentials. Many online courses offer quick, often free certifications that can help students offer proof of skills beyond academic courses to potential employers. For those summer jobs that require certifications beyond online study—like lifeguarding—your school could invite local instructors and organizations to teach these courses to students willing to pay a fee to become certified.
- Tell local employers that your school will be maintaining such a list. Companies and organizations in your neighborhood won’t know about your school’s “summer job” list unless they’re told directly by the office. Once they know about the list, they may reach out to you with specially designed student jobs that you couldn’t have found in any other way.
While summer is a great time for students to relax from the rigors of the classroom—or prepare for the next academic year—it’s also a prime opportunity for young people to gain valuable skills they’ll need as they enter the workforce. With a little foresight, your school can safeguard its students from risky employment while building their résumés for future educational—and professional—opportunities.
Additional ISM resources:
ISM Research: Effective Career Awareness and Development Program for K-8 Students
ISM Research: Measuring College and Career Readiness
The Source for Private School News Vol. 13 No. 6 What Your Students Did Over Summer Vacation
Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members:
I&P Vol. 39 No. 11 Hiring, Preparing, and Training Staff for Your Summer Program