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Colorado high school and college students facing difficulties finding jobs amid COVID-19 outbreak

Posted at 5:06 PM, May 25, 2020

DENVER — For high school senior Willa Dorgan, finding a summer job before heading off to college hasn't been easy.

"I know a lot of kids are kind of grasping for straws right now, just looking for anywhere to work," Dorgan said.

Dorgan locked down a job at Blake Street Tavern, but her goal of landing another job to save up money might not turn out. So, she's considering a different approach.

"I've almost found nothing that is really open, so right now, I'm really just looking into maybe volunteering for a campaign, because while that's not paid, it would be something that I'm really interested in and would be a really great experience," she said.

The owner of Blake Street Tavern, Chris Fuselier, says he's struggling to get many former employees back into work now that restaurants will soon offer limited sit-down service.

"There's a cook yesterday who we reached out to, and when he left us two months ago he was making $18 an hour, right now he's making $25 an hour on unemployment," Fuselier said. "This summer, we're reaching out to more high school kids who are getting ready to go off to school, other college kids that don't have jobs that are not receiving unemployment, because we're having trouble getting our own people back to work."

For Isaac Dennis, a recent graduate of Oklahoma State University, looking beyond entry-level jobs has been slim pickings.

"I have the two degrees, but I was mainly relying on the strategic communications degree to get a job, and while there are jobs sprinkled around -- very quickly, those jobs started to disappear. It's stressful because I definitely wanted to work coming out of college, but that's not looking like a possibility anymore," Dennis said.

Even the City of Denver's Summer Youth Employment Program is seeing radical changes. Because of the coronavirus, their 325 participants won't receive any in-person work experiences, and it will all be online.