Kaia Lancour is 13 and will be heading off to Mount Shasta High School for 9th grade this coming school year. Her hobbies include art activities such as painting, sketching, sewing and crafts. She also takes part in outdoor activities like mountain biking, horseback riding, swimming, camping and hiking. She participates in gymnastics, modern dance and silk dancing classes. She is excited to go into high school and is ready to take part in the organization Upward Bound through College of the Siskiyous. She hopes to attend college following high school and spend time at home during the summer.

Teenagers in Mount Shasta need more job opportunities in our local area. Readers may be aware that in Mount Shasta it can be hard to find a job, especially one that can meet financial needs. In a small town, a lot of businesses struggle to stay open and for some, hiring help isn’t possible.

Many teens in Mount Shasta feel the same about job opportunities for the younger population. We feel that although there are some job opportunities near us, we, as the younger population, don’t tend to get these jobs. Teenagers struggle with finding places to work that are able to hire them at their young age, trust them enough to hire them, and would be willing to work around their schedules that can include school and extracurricular activities. Teenagers often lose job opportunities because they are competing with adults with more experience; feelings of anxiety and even despair can result.

The two local business owners I spoke with expressed similar concerns about hiring young people. Although they are willing to hire from the younger population, they had a few completely reasonable requirements that I feel young people could easily meet. One business owner said that when hiring they look for confidence, genuineness, and a good personality. Another business owner I spoke with said they look for someone who is clean, responsible, friendly, and energetic. These are aspects that I feel most business owners would look for and find easily in our younger population.

Finding a job in Mount Shasta can be difficult for teens, and a more communicative partnership between local business owners and the teen job seekers in Mount Shasta would be greatly beneficial. There are a lot of younger people looking for jobs and we need business owners to give us a chance to shine. When hiring from the teenage population, many aspects that could aid you and your business abound. For example, we are moldable, malleable--a blank slate in many ways. We are fresh workers who can easily do the job your way.

I will soon be old enough to work, but will I be able to find a job? From my perspective, finding a job scares me and it is difficult for me to ask for a job. Asking for a job feels like asking for something I’m not allowed to have, like no matter what I say the answer will be no. I don’t want to have to feel like I will never find a job; I don’t want that feeling of failure. I am on the cusp of being of age to work, yet I already fear I am going to have a hard time finding a place to work that is flexible with my schedule and will hire me at my young age. My friends and I will soon have to find jobs to pay for school activities, car expenses, and living costs. It is important to note that teens often have serious responsibilities to their family that, when combined with the requirements of school and preparing for college, put their obligations on a similar level as those of adults with families of their own.

Many teens in our local community are dedicated to finding jobs and to becoming your perfect employee, if we can find the opportunity to do so. Finding a job can be a stressful and difficult experience, and we hope to help local business owners understand that with just a little extra support, the local teen population truly has a lot to offer our community, if we are just given a chance.