By: Kathleen Pignone, M.Ed., CRC
Transition Specialist, NESCA
Summer is here. The weather is mostly sunny, we are in New England after all, and many of us are looking forward to our teenagers being out of school and hanging around in the basement playing video games on line with their friends, asking for rides to the mall and wondering why there is no food in the fridge.
Wait! Whoa! It’s summer! Don’t teenagers work anymore? Many young adults are spending summers preparing for travel sports teams, drama clubs and exploring post-secondary options. As a transition specialist I work with parents and young adults every day who are trying to plan for life after high school. There are so many areas to consider: post-secondary education/training, independent living skills, leisure and recreation, transportation skills and EMPLOYMENT!
Researchers have studied and debated the benefits and drawbacks of teens and part-time jobs for more than 2 decades. Many researchers, including those on government panels like the National Commission on Youth, praise part-time work and say it contributes to the transition from youth to adulthood.
Top 10 Reasons why Work Works!
- As an employee, young adults gain a new identity outside of being a student. They have a role and a purpose that cannot be replicated in any other setting. When they arrive at work, their employer is so grateful for their presence there because without them the job doesn’t get done or someone else needs to stop their productivity to get it done.
- Teamwork! You can’t be employed in any entry-level job without learning the basics of collaboration and negotiation.
- Responsibility and Accountability are the easiest skills to teach on the job. Every employee is expected to fulfill their role and add to the greater good. These two skills are crucial for success in college and in all relationships.
- Time management. Young adults learn how to balance free time and productive time. This is a crucial skill for success in the unstructured time shift from high school to college life. Also, employment gives teens less time to engage in risky behaviors.
- Learn important executive functioning skills. Young adults learn how to juggle their schedules and plan ahead so they can fit in leisure and extracurricular activities around their work schedules.
- Money management skills. Young adults learn how to effectively manage finances. Even if the teen is simply using their earnings to pay for their own expenses, they will learn to budget between clothes, movies, and car expenses.
- Career Development. Young adults gain practical experience in a field of interest helping to further college major and career choices
- Skills! Young adults gain useful, marketable skills such as improving their communication, instilling new confidence, learning how to handle difficult people, developing interview skills and filling out job applications.
- Community! Their world becomes bigger. Young adults learn to navigate transportation options, gain networking possibilities and set a young adult on a rewarding lifetime career path.
- Fun! Work is fun!!
About the Author:
Kathleen Pignone, M.Ed. CRC is a deeply knowledgeable and experienced transition specialist. Prior to her tenure at NESCA, Ms. Pignone was the Career Development Director at Bay Cove Academy for 15 years, providing students with classroom and real-world employment skills training, community job placement and on the job employment-training. She has also worked at Massachusetts Department of Secondary and Elementary Education and privately as a vocational rehabilitation consultant. As a certified rehabilitation counselor, Ms. Pignone brings unique expertise carrying out vocational assessment and employment planning for adolescents and young adults as well as supporting local school programs. In addition to fortifying NESCA’s premier transition assessment services, Ms. Pignone engages in person-centered planning with teens and young adults, consultation and training for parents, providers and schools, and community-based coaching services.
Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents (NESCA) is a pediatric neuropsychology practice and integrative treatment center with offices in Newton, Massachusetts, and Londonderry, New Hampshire, serving clients from preschool through young adulthood and their families. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-658-9800.