Posted Date: 10/25/2022
COPPERAS COVE, TX (October 25, 2022)—Nationwide, slightly more than 30 percent of teenagers held summer jobs to gain experience and earn extra money in the summer of 2020. In the summer of 2022, that number fell with only one in four or 25 percent of high school students holding a summer job according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For many students at Crossroads High School, not working and not having an income is not an option as many help support their households with what they earn.
Texas Workforce Solutions of Central Texas representatives of the Student Occupational Awareness and Recognition Program assist students with obtaining employment through mock interviews, writing resumes, dressing professionally for both an interview and at the workplace, and even email etiquette. SOAR representatives visit both Crossroads High School and Copperas Cove High School twice a month to prepare students for career paths in which they are interested.
"It is a great job opportunity for people who don't have jobs right now,” said Crossroads High School student Aaliyah Kennedy.
Representative Caithryn Grace is employed through the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers. Grace especially enjoys her visits to Crossroads High School.
"I earned my bachelor's degree in Social Work,” Grace said. “I have a passion for working with at-risk youth partially because of my background. I want to help them be successful."
Under the SOAR program umbrella is the Wingspan-Taking Flight program that can provide financial assistance for required trainings and tests, childcare assistance, job search assistance, and even gas for transportation.
SOAR representative Amber Wilson said interested students must apply to be part of the program.
“If qualifications are met, the student has the opportunity to gain employment, financial assistance with housing, gas cards0 for transportation to and from work, professional clothing, and equipment that may be needed for work such as a computer,” Wilson said. “These are just some of the amazing things the Wingspan program has to offer. Students in the program will earn $14 an hour for the first 280 hours on the job site with hopes of permanent employment.”
Crossroads students lined up to share with Grace and Wilson what their career interests are and completed the applications to receive benefits from the Wingspan program and begin working and earning livable wages.
"Helping students find a purpose with a purpose is my passion," Wilson said.
Approximately 30 percent of Crossroads High School students currently holds a job with many more students working through the SOAR program to become employable.