When I was 12, I got my first job for an after-school paper route. It was a great job. I’d fold the papers, load up the bag on my bike, and an hour later, I was done. As a teen, I had a few jobs in different restaurants, ranging from being a dishwasher to a server. I also spent time in a sign shop and in the construction business. Throughout college, I worked custodial jobs and event and arena management.
Some of these jobs I enjoyed more than others. No matter the job and no matter the work, the experiences and things learned have been immensely important to my life. I discovered what I definitely did NOT want to do. I learned that working with people is what I enjoy. And I learned the value of hard work and keeping my word.
Research has shown that youth who work during the teenage years have better outcomes in life. They are better prepared for college and a career, and they are more likely to be higher wage earners with better financial health and stability.
Recently, the Chamber launched “Wasatch Works” to help our local businesses with employment and help teens learn the value of work to experience these positive outcomes. Wasatch Works (formerly Thrive Hive) is a scholarship program offered to graduating seniors. To be eligible, teens need to maintain a 3.0 GPA, be accepted into a post-high school higher education institution (trade school, technical college, community college, university, etc.), and have worked 600 hours over two years at local Wasatch County businesses. Working with Wasatch Education Foundation, in this first round, we had 30 applicants who all received a $2,000 scholarship.
Funding for this scholarship has come through an economic development grant through the state of Utah with some matching funds from the Chamber. We look to continue this scholarship through fundraising efforts from our Chamber Golf Tournament and by collecting donations.
We are excited about Wasatch Works as it will be a direct benefit to our local students to help them reach their educational goals, as well as a benefit to area businesses to support employment growth. This program represents the Chamber’s efforts to find solutions for community needs. Learn more about the program online and consider donating. In the meantime, we’ll see you at the Chamber Golf Tournament, next Chamber Luncheon, or any of the other upcoming community events!