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New Canaan High Grads Deal With Jobless Summer

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Lauren Ross figures babysitting is her best chance to make a little extra money before college.

Ross, a 2011 New Canaan High School graduate, has lined up several babysitting assignments throughout the summer before she heads off next month to start classes at Boston University. The chance to gain some working experience in a local store or office never happened.

“It’s kind of frustrating,” said Ross, 18, who began her summer work search in March. “I probably went to five different businesses in town. They said they were looking for adults, or they weren’t looking for anyone.”

Ross says she’s not alone. Plenty of her fellow graduates were unable to secure summer jobs, whether in town or elsewhere in Fairfield County. Ross restricted her search to New Canaan locations because of high gas prices. With no stores hiring, she’s counting on two or three babysitting assignments a week while hoping the clients don’t back out at the last minute. “It would have been much more reliable and steadier income … but I couldn’t do much about it.”

Ross’ friend and fellow New Canaan graduate Bailey Wright also came up empty in her summer job search, though she kept it to about four places in New Canaan and Darien. Bailey, 18, is also relying on babysitting assignments and odd jobs from her parents to make a little extra money before heading to Liberty University. “I’ve just given up. It’s pretty frustrating. You feel like you can’t control your source of income, even if it’s part time,” she said. “It’s annoying to have to work odd jobs and you don’t know how much you’ll be making.”

New Canaan Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tucker Murphy said she knows of “four or five” stores where employees stuck around instead of taking the usual summer vacations. That made it impossible to hire young adults to fill in. “That hurt some kids and some cutbacks did as well,” Murphy said. “I think it’s a harder time all around to get a position from executives to sales help. It’s just that much harder.”

Ross hopes she’ll be able to get a work-study job at BU to buy a few things on her own. She also hopes next summer that her job or internship prospects are better.

Have you or your child had a hard time finding summer or full-time work? How far will you be willing to go to get a job? Let us know. Start the conversation by logging in and leaving a comment below. You can also visit our Facebook page.

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