MARIETTA - Brisk April temperatures bely summer is on the way and with it comes plenty of employment opportunities for youth.
Pools, summer camps, townships and municipalities and fast food restaurants are looking for help during the busy summer months.
"I've probably got more employers right now than I've got kids," said Candy Nelson, a supervisor with Washington County Job and Family Services, which offers a summer youth employment program that reimburses area businesses for the wages of summer employees participating in it.
The program is available to young adults up to age 24 if there are minor children in the home and they are income-eligible, Nelson said.
Even without the benefit of a job service like the summer youth employment program, there are employment opportunities available throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley.
"I think it's gotten a little bit easier (to find a job). It's hard to find a job that you like," said Audra Schroeder, 20, of Sarahsville who is working at Witten Farm Market for the second summer.
The Witten Farm Market has about 25 kiosks around the Mid-Ohio Valley open seasonally, and have been working for the past month to fill the positions there.
"The hiring for some of these positions really was started about a month ago, but we're always looking for really good people," said Tom Witten, whose family owns and operates Witten Farm Market based in Lowell.
Janelle Martin, 20, of Caldwell picked up her first summer job when she applied to work at Witten's market on Pike Street in Marietta this year. Operating a taxidermy service out of her home during the fall and winter, summer employment with Witten's fit perfectly into her schedule.
"It's perfect for me. I love going to work, and that's weird," Martin said.
Pools are another big employer during the summer.
Mike Bishman, owner of Professional Pool Management, said his company plans to hire around 140 staff for the seven pools they'll operate this summer.
The Marietta Family YMCA is looking to hire about 15 people for its summer camps and pool, as well as the Belpre pool it will operate, said Suzy Zumwalde, director of the Marietta YMCA.
Pools are also a popular target for potential employees. Bishman said his company had received between 50 and 60 applications for concession workers at the Marietta Aquatic Center when only nine will be hired.
"Most of our facilities right now are in the process of interviewing. Some have already filled all of the positions at their facility," he said.
At the YMCA, summer camp counselors are being sought as well as lifeguards, but the position requires a high school diploma or GED, as it is certified by the state of Ohio.
"We are looking for people that have had some involvement working or interacting with kids," Zumwalde said. "They definitely have to be enthusiastic and be excited about being there playing with the kids."
The YMCA, which will receive some workers from Nelson's program, is looking to have its hiring process done by May 11, Zumwalde said.
Villages and townships, as well as highway departments, are also looking for summer help as grass needs mowed and playgrounds need upkeep.
The city of Marietta will be hiring about five adults for approximately 500 hours of labor and about 10 to 12 teens through Nelson's program for public facilities, streets and wastewater. Another four or so will be hired for playground upkeep, said Jonathan Hupp, Marietta safety-service director.
Much of that labor will be used in lawn care, where the city is already three weeks ahead of schedule, Hupp said.
"Hopefully this will slow the stream of calls coming into city hall for unsightly grass," Hupp said. "It's difficult when you have two guys in a cemetery and two guys covering the city proper to get everything mowed in a week."
Jobs being available doesn't necessarily mean there are hundreds waiting in line to fill them, however.
A study released recently by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. found that statistics from the Bureau of Labor show that in 2011, the number of 16- to 19-year-olds not participating in the labor force averaged 11,048,000. Only about 1,102,000 indicated they wanted a job, the report said.
Marietta High School junior Erica Dawson, 17, has no desire for summer employment as she plans to focus on her athletic endeavors. Dawson is a three-sport athlete for Marietta.
"I'm basically too busy. It's my break from school and I don't want to be busy working all day long," Dawson said.
Marietta High School junior Julie Fobes, 17, has put in some applications for a summer job but hasn't found anything yet. She does work on Sundays for her church, and isn't too worried that summer employment hasn't come her way, she said.
Summer employment options are also available for adults in roles with highway departments and townships, as well as heavy equipment operators. The challenge is that those jobs may not be the high-paying jobs adults need, and they're now competing with teens and college students out for the summer, Nelson said.
"Keep applying and keep applying," Nelson said. "I know it's frustrating and you get discouraged, but there are things out there."