Washing dishes and cleaning tables at Godfather's Pizza -- it's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it. Cassius Price, 16, is happy to be that person.
"Yeah I don't care," said the Osseo High School Student. "As long as I'm making money."
Godfather's Pizza is Price's first job. The man responsible for hiring him is franchise owner Roger Backstrom.
"I loved his level of confidence," Backstrom said. "He was not shy. Had a clear view. I mean, he looks you in the eye, has a good, firm, handshake."
Price is one of about eight high school students Backstrom hired this summer, and while he's only making minimum wage, he says he's grateful to be in this position.
"Well I needed some extra money and I'm trying to get a car, you know, drive around and stuff," Price said. "I just want my own money and stop using my parents."
According to the state Department of Employment and Economic Development, Price is one of the lucky ones. Teen employment this spring was only at 38 percent, down from 59 percent at the start of the 2000s.
State officials say many teens today have a different mindset.
"Certainly more and more teens are looking toward college as what they want to do after high school," said Oriane Cansale, assistant director of labor market information with the Department of Employment and Economic Development. "So they're preparing not through summer jobs, but through other kinds of experience for that."
And, experts say the labor market has been tough on teens.
"We probably had, just this spring and into the summer season, between 75–100 inquiries for applications," Backstrom said.
Some of whom included older people looking for work, which only adds to the challenge.
"Unfortunately for me I only have so many positions to fill, so making that decision is probably one of the hardest things," Backstrom said.
Price, meanwhile, hopes to make the most of the opportunity.
"It was supposed to be just a summer job, but I'm going to try and work it in with school too," Price said.
June 25, 2012