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Riverside teens struggle to find work

June 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Teens in Riverside are struggling to find work due to the bad economy.Youngsters in Riverside County say that the good old days of finding summer jobs at fast food restaurants and other places that hire temporary and part-time workers are gone.

"I am desperate now. I am looking for something to get me through summer," said Karina Nava, Riverside teen.

"For me it was pretty tough. I sent in my resume all over the place. I sent it online and in person. They take one look at my age and they don't call me. When I called them they say, 'No, thank you,'" said Reuben Santos.

Many youngsters say that the economy is so bad that the summer jobs they want are now going to the adults who have been laid off from their career jobs.

Riverside officials say it is tough for everyone.

"The employment rate in the inland area and in the City of Riverside is over 13-percent. I do not know what it was like in the Great Depression, but we are calling this the 'Great Recession.' This is the highest we have any record of since World War II," said Ronald Loveridge, Riverside mayor.

Mary Jo Ramirez is the director of the Youth Opportunity Center in Riverside. She says thanks to more than half-a-million dollars in federal stimulus money many youngsters who may not of found a summer job will get one.

"It is called the Summer Work Experience Program," said Ramirez.

Ramirez says the summer work program is a county wide effort that has put 2,500 kids to work throughout Riverside County. However, she says sadly that there are so many more youngsters that need work.

"Riverside County is putting young people who are between the ages of 14 to 24 into Summer Work Experience and it is according to their career pathways," said Ramirez.

Karina Nava is hoping to get work through the program.

"I am just hoping they can give me a 9-to-5 during the week," said Nava.

Officials say that summer jobs program starts in July and runs through August.

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