Summer job outlook better than in 2011
Two Lyons Township High School students check out opportunities on the summer job board outside the guidance office at the north campus in La Grange. | Jane Michaels~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 11, 2012 8:18AM
The summer job outlook for high school and college students appears to be slightly more promising than was the case a year ago.
“The sense I get is that things have improved somewhat,” said Steve Erickson, the first-year executive director of the West Suburban Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
“It seems to me there are jobs to fill out there. I get the feeling, personally, that there are more this year than last year.”
Steve Gustis, manager of the Career Services office at College of DuPage, said the summer job market looks a little bit stronger in 2012.
“A lot of seasonal places have been gearing up,” he said. “I personally think that the mild winter has helped both employers and job seekers with the job outlook because there seems to be a more positive mental attitude.”
Andrew Borg, a senior at Hinsdale Central, said he has a positive attitude despite no luck in the early going.
“I’m hopeful that I’ll find something and think there’s a good chance I will,” he said Monday. “I’ve only been looking for about a week. It’s the first time I’ve looked for a job; I’ve looked online and have gone to some places. I just want to find something pretty close to home so I can make a little money over the summer.”
Hinsdale Central junior Matt Vardas said he ended up returning to the same summer job he had in 2011.
“I’m going to be a lifeguard for the Burr Ridge Park District again,” he said. “I applied at about five or six other places, both online and in person, and actually got one of those jobs, but they were able to fit a schedule for me at the park district.”
Gustis said his office doesn’t track information on summer-specific employment for those seeking such jobs. However, trends he observes in job growth or decreases in the area generally also are a fairly accurate gauge for summer.
And for the period Jan. 1-April 1, the Career Services office at College of DuPage had 495 new employers register a total of 1,300 open jobs.
“That’s definitely an increase from last year,” Gustis said. “It really comes down to selling yourself by networking and using connections with who you know.”
Gustis said in some cases it pays to do some volunteer work or take an internship over the summer.
“Interns are hot right now,” he said. “I know it’s tough to take something and not get paid, especially when you have bills to pay. But in the big picture it can be beneficial for some people.”
Gustis said College of DuPage continues to offer a free electronic job board at www.collegecentral.com/dupage. The site includes both summer jobs and other employment opportunities.
At Oak Brook Center, which has about 165 retail stores, an overall improved sales climate likely could mean a better situation for finding summer employment than was the case a year ago, said Chuck Fleming, senior general manager of the center.
“Business has been continuing to pick up,” Fleming said. “We’re off to a strong start, and we expect that to continue through 2012.”