May: Celebrate “Season for Success” with Path Forward

Celebrate “Season for Success” with Path Forward

Every year starting in May, tens of thousands of teenagers and college kids get ready to begin – or in some cases scramble to secure – the job that will shape their future, begin to define their work ethic and impart valuable lessons as simple as showing up on time or learning how to listen to a mentor. According to the PEW Research Center, for every year a teenager works, his or her income during their twenties rises 14 to 16 percent. But the United States has seen a decline in youth employment as high as 40 percent* in recent years… a trend that the service industry is helping to buck.

In a recent LinkedIn op-ed, President Obama expressed the importance of a first job, looking back fondly on his time spent serving customers in an ice cream shop and the lessons and skills he learned on the job:

My first summer job wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it taught me some valuable lessons. Responsibility. Hard work. Balancing a job with friends, family, and school….This is just one story of the millions of young Americans who have been given a chance to contribute to their communities with the help of a local employer. That’s what my first job did for me all those years ago… I’ll never forget that job – or the people who gave me that opportunity – and how they helped me get to where I am today.”

– President Barack Obama, LinkedIn, Feb 25, 2016

Restaurants and retailers are the number one provider of jobs to working teens. Path Forward is proud of the irreplaceable role that the service industry plays in supplying teenagers and young people in their twenties with real-world working experience, as well as providing those employees with income support for their families, their hobbies or their educational pursuits. Nearly a quarter of all retail workers are between the ages of 16 and 24, and 71 percent of restaurant employees age 18 to 24 have advanced to a more lucrative position in the business after their first job. These groups of young people are a subject all too often left out of the debate on issues affecting the service industry and the U.S. service economy.

Path Forward is declaring the month of May “Summer Jobs Month” to let young people know that there is a place for them to start, grow and move forward in the service industry.

The Extent to Which Early Restaurant Jobs Helped People** Learn and Develop the Skills and Attributes That are Necessary to be Successful Throughout Life in the Workforce

top 12 skills

Seven in 10 hiring managers credit the retail industry for the foundational job skills training it develops in its employees, its meritocratic nature and the abundance of opportunities in the industry .***



*The Center for Labor Market Studies, The Dismal State of the Nation’s Teen Summer Job Market, 2008- 2012, and the Employment Outlook for the Summer of 2013

**National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, Restaurant Skills Survey, 2015

Note: Figures may not add precisely to 100% due to rounding.

Figures are based on respondents who are at least 35 years old, have been employed for at least 10 years over the course of their life, and one of their first jobs was in the restaurant industry.

***National Retail Federation, Retail’s Value on a Resume, 2015