More than a million immigrants demonstrated across the country Monday in attempt to show their importance to the nation’s economy. At a counter demonstration in Fort Myers, protesters held signs calling for illegal immigrants to go home. One attendee said foreigners were taking entry-level jobs from teenagers. But Barbara Hartman with Lee County Career and Service Center says there are plenty of jobs for everyone.
“Employers are waiting for students to get out of school to help them run their business – they are relying on the students to help expanding and keep what they do have going. it will help bridge the gap for the labor shortage for the summer.”
Hartman says an unemployment rate of 3 percent is considered full employment – the number in Lee is about two percent – the lowest it’s been in many years. Most employers looking for teen workers are in retail and customer service.
More than a million immigrants skipped work and boycotted shops and restaurants Monday to show their importance to the nation’s economy. There were also counter demonstrations. At one such rally in Fort Myers, people held signs calling for illegal immigrants to go home. Some said undocumented workers take jobs away from legal residents and even make it difficult for teens to find employment.
It’s certainly not the case in Lee County – which has an unemployment rate of 2 percent and is the fastest growing area in Florida. Beth Barger is with the Career and Service Center of Southwest Florida. She says 14 and 15 year olds looking for jobs are somewhat limited by child labor laws – but once they turn sixteen they have many options.
“ there are so many new companies moving into the area and depending on what they’ve done and what they put together as their own package – have they volunteered in school – those kinds things – they just need to showcase their skills to the employer to show that they have worked in public or they’ve done certain things so that they can get the job”
Barger says some movie theaters pay teens 9 dollars and 25 cents an hour. She says Target has excellent employment programs for teens – including college tuition reimbursement. And she says Publix, the state’s largest private employer, hires baggers as young as age 15.
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 01:00