Know a Colorado teen looking for a job?

Even in a strong economy like Colorado’s, teens often struggle to get the work experience they need.

Rising high school senior Raul Valenzuela listens during an orientation for new interns placed at Denver-based QEP Resources Inc through Denver Public Schools' CareerConnect program. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Rising high school senior Raul Valenzuela listens during an orientation for new interns placed at Denver-based QEP Resources Inc through Denver Public Schools' CareerConnect program. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) technical education; qep; denver; denverite; colorado; kevinjbeaty; job training; career skills; internship; denver public schools; dps;
Rising high school senior Raul Valenzuela listens during an orientation for new interns placed at Denver-based QEP Resources Inc through Denver Public Schools’ CareerConnect program. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The 2017 Governor’s Summer Job Hunt kicked off Thursday to connect Colorado high schoolers and college students with summer gigs.

The program administered by workforce centers across the state connects young people with employers willing to give them a chance to learn, put skills to use and see firsthand how a business operates. Summer job seekers and employers can get more info about the Governor’s Summer Job Hunt here.

Teens can also do a self-directed job search by registering at connectingcolorado.com.

Even in a strong economy like Colorado’s, teens often struggle to get the work experience they need. For young people 16 to 19 years old, the 2016 average unemployment rate was 13 percent, according to the state.

That’s compared to a 3.3 percent unemployment rate for the state overall last year.

Workforce centers in Denver, Jefferson, Gilpin, Clear Creek, Broomfield, Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties offer assistance in resume writing, interviewing skills and job search strategies to help teens gain a competitive edge in their job hunt. And, of course, the offices has access to job listings.

The Governor’s Summer Job Hunt is one of the oldest programs of its kind in the country, Department of Labor and Employment Executive Director Ellen Golombek said in a statement.

“It was established by Governor Richard Lamm in 1981, at a time when teen unemployment was particularly high,” Golombek said. “Over the last 36 years, in good economic times and bad, it has established a proven track record.”

Last summer, almost 47,000 high school and college students received assistance statewide, according to the state. Workforce centers in metro Denver helped almost 15,600 teens.

The ultimate value of a summer job isn’t just the paycheck young workers earn. It’s building tomorrow’s workforce, Golombek said.

“It’s one thing to tell young people the value of knowing how to spell or do simple math, but it’s something else for them to recognize how important it is to get it right when they’re preparing a letter for work or having to make change. It makes the classroom learning real,” she said.

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Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or@adriandgarcia on Twitter.

Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia is on business and trends for Denverite, serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and on the board of the Denver Press Club. He can be reached at agarcia@denverite.com.