Rush for summer jobs starts

By Ryn Gargulinski

School’s out for summer — and the race is on for jobs, according to Matt Barela, employment representative for New Mexico’s Labor Department.

As with hitting the books, it pays to start early for the job hunt, said Barela. “Summer is really, really busy,” he said. “A lot of the jobs are already scooped up.”

Something Different, a restaurant with locations in Clovis and Portales, has already been feeling the student crunch — at least in Portales.

Owner Leonard Vandenberg, who has seen 15 to 20 applications in the past month alone, said he has already hired three or four for Portales. Surprisingly, he said, no applicants have come in the Clovis location.

“Maybe people in Clovis have more money,” Vandenberg said.

The restaurant has always been open to hiring seasonal cashiers, cooks or delivery people. The training period is brief and students are hired with the understanding they will be moving on once school begins in the fall, Vandenberg said.

Clovis Pool, Spa and Patio, on the other hand, needs seasonal help — but only from those who are trained in pool and spa maintenance, said office manager Janna Chenault.

Of the 20 or so student applicants who started coming in before school let out Thursday, Chenault said most were seeking cashier or in-store positions, of which they have no openings.

Recent Clovis High graduate Lindsay Sellows has already had two interviews with two perspective employers.

The first was through word of mouth with a photographer who needs an assistant, someone experienced in computer programs and office work.. The second summer job application for Sellows, who will most likely attend college in Las Cruces in the fall, was at a clothing store at the mall.

“A lot of my friends already have jobs,” Sellows said.

Fellow graduate Anneka Burdell has had a job with Buckles, also a clothing store in the mall, for the last six months. Her hours will be increased upon request for the summer season.

“It’s nice not to have to go out and job hunt,” Burdell said.

Although some employers may balk at hiring high school students who are only working until school starts again, Vandenberg believes hiring students is a win-win situation.

“They are pretty good workers,” Vandenberg said of the summer students. “They are friendly and outgoing. They know they are going on to something bigger and better.”

In addition to benefiting the employer, Vandenberg said it greatly enhances the character of the employee.

“It will teach them a great lesson,” Vendenberg said. “Get out there and work instead of playing Xbox all summer.”