Employers struggle to fill workforce shortages

With little free time after homework, students struggle to find an opportunity to enter the workforce. Academic responsibilities can be hard enough and after being isolated due to COVID-19, some feel it can be intimidating to go into a customer service position.


Arrowhead photo by Helen Spigel

Opening up for the day… Before any other employees arrive, Harleysville Car Wash general manager Mike Bitner logs onto his computer to start the day. The majority of his employees work part time and are teenagers.

Balancing busy schedules, extracurricular activities and starting back up school, many teenagers can’t find the time or want to enter the workforce, leaving a void for employers nationwide.
According to the Harleysville Dominos assistant training manager Karistal Rosario, they have pamphlets that go out with every order, they have posted street signs and it even says they are hiring on their website.
“My personal opinion, especially with everything that went on with Covid and the unemployment deal, I think people are just not willing to work at the moment,” Rosario said.
Teens who are not receiving any unemployment benefits are not working, either.
According to Harleysville Car Wash general manager Mike Bitner, they hire mostly part time and teens.
The people he is looking to hire are not getting unemployment.
Bitner thinks one of the major reasons teenagers are not applying is because of the commitment extracurriculars take up.
“To me high school is about learning how to move on to the next thing in life, and to me that’s tasting everything from the plate that high school can offer you,” Bitner said. “I feel like it’s challenging today for a student to taste a lot of things from the plate they have to offer you” he said, “because once you commit to soccer or football or the school play it is so encompassing that it takes up all your time.”
Teenagers who are employed are working a lot.
Junior Sadie Harvey works five days a week, three during the week and then weekends all of which are generally long shifts at The Butcher and Barkeep. “It’s generally 4-9 p.m., so five hours,” they said.
According to Harvey, they don’t have time for a ton of extracurricular activities.
“I can’t do much besides work,” Harvey said. “I can’t really go to clubs or hang out with friends as much, so I’m basically working, sleeping and doing school work.”
COVID-19 has led some teens to not want to work because they don’t feel like putting themselves at risk.
“There is a fear of coming back into the world. And I think it’s because there is some comfort from isolating yourself from the world,” Bitner said. “You need to push your way through the door that seems to have been locked.”
Even though some teeagers don’t want to work, many who do find benefits.
According to Harvey, they love their job because of the working atmosphere.
“Everyone there is fun to be around and it’s kinda like a family,” they said.
With a lack of labor, now might be a good time to be applying if one decides having a job is for them.
Harvey thinks teens should apply for jobs to start becoming independent and less reliant on parents.
They think teenagers should go for it and apply to jobs. “Just be confident about it,” Harvey said.