Most teens want to work, and it’s important for them to have a place where they can earn money and gain a sense of responsibility. But the busy schedule of your average high schooler, plus very legitimate child labor laws, don’t always allow for young people to secure part-time work.
That’s where TeenJobFind comes in. Janet Shah of Palo Alto, California created the app that helps teens find and perform odd jobs like yard work and babysitting. Shah hopes the app will help teens recognize the importance of work and find jobs that fit into their busy schedules.
Why Are Jobs Important for Teens?
The Employment Policies Institute released a study showing clear evidence that “part-time work as a high school senior translates to future career benefits that include higher hourly wages, increased annual earnings, and less time spent out of work.”
Shah agrees with those findings. She feels that when teens hold down jobs, they’re building a strong foundation for their future — and that idea came from her own children. As her three kids got older, she noticed their wish lists were getting bigger, too. They wanted a new iPad or Lululemon pants instead of a candy bar.
“I told my daughter that she would have to find a way to earn money for her expensive yoga pants,” Shah says. “After several babysitting jobs, she came to me exasperated. [She complained,] ‘It took me eight hours to earn enough money for those pants!’”
That, of course, was the exact lesson Shah had been trying to teach. “I wanted my kids, and those of her generation, to learn these valuable life lessons — work ethic, responsibility, financial independence.”
Shah also recognized that for teens who were busy with academics and extracurriculars, holding down a job wasn’t that simple. Likewise, in some states you can’t get work at a mainstream business if you’re under 16, and only at age 15 with a parent’s written permission. That’s why she created the app — to help teens take advantage of the gig economy and work on their own time without giving up other important aspects of life.
How Does TeenJobFind Work?
Adults “who are in need of reliable help to get simple tasks done” post jobs on the app. Teens 13 and older can view available jobs and accept ones that sound like a good fit for them.
“We have young families using our app for babysitting all the way up through the elderly who need an extra set of hands in everyday household tasks,” Shah explains.
Some parents might feel concerned about sending their child to a stranger’s house for a job, but Shah has been proactive to eliminate those worries. “Safety is our number-1 priority on TeenJobFind. Job posters require a complete background check prior to being activated on our platform. Teens need parent/guardian approval and one reference to be activated, and parents must approve every job that a teen takes.” Parents are also welcome to accompany their teen to the job.
Schedule flexibility isn’t the only benefit of the app. The opportunity to try out different jobs and see what teens enjoy is important, too. The app also helps the community.
“We have seniors that love having the company of teens. It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to connect,” Shah notes. “Teens are fulfilling an integral role in solving the problem of finding help in the community.”
Even Shah’s teens — who are now 19, 16, and 13 — use the app to find work.
TeenJobFind is currently only available from Sunnyvale, CA through Belmont, CA. Next up is a New Orleans launch, and soon, Shah plans to have the app nationwide.
Janet Shah, original interview
Employment Policies Institute study
Palo Alto Online — Mom Creates TeenJobFind App for Teens Seeking Work