MINNESOTA - Summer is almost here and that means kids are antsy to get out of school and start having more fun. But many teens will be busy working, some collecting a paycheck for the first time.
Through Growing Good, about 50 youth will be digging in the dirt at community gardens in the Twin Cities.
The program is run by the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum to teach kids job and life skills.
"They're growing vegetables, herbs and selling them to local restaurants. They're learning how to create invoices, communication skills, and learning how to build websites," said Karen Depratto, of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.
At YMCA locations in the Twin Cities, about 1,500 more people will get a paycheck. Lifeguards, coaches and camp counselors are always in demand this time of year.
At Juxtaposition Arts in north Minneapolis, up to 80, 14-21 year-olds will work alongside architects, landscape designers, screen printers and fashion designers to learn how to have a successful career in the arts.
The non-profit Cookie Cart just opened a new location in St. Paul last week. It's looking for about 35 teens to work at its new bakery and about 50 more are needed for its Minneapolis location.
All of these jobs break down to one theme. Minnesota's youth labor force is growing.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development just did an analysis on this group and found that job participation is up in the past five years from 46% to 52%. If you compare that nationally, an average of 35 percent of youth was employed last summer.
DEED also found that Minnesota's teen unemployment rate dropped to 8% in 2016, but seems to be on a downward trend at 7.7% as of March 2018.