Blaine High School program helps connect teens with employers

A new program in the north metro is working to help link employers with young people trying to break into the workforce for the first time.

Blaine High School is partnering with the Metro North Chamber of Commerce to place teens into jobs within their community.

The local chamber did a pilot program last year in a partnership with Coon Rapids High School. After placing about half of its teens into a variety of different jobs, the program is expanding and even getting some attention from chambers all over the state.

For a lot of teens, the biggest obstacle to finding an after school job is figuring out which businesses in their community hire teens.

“I can look on Glassdoor and Indeed and places like that, but it’s honestly through word of mouth,” said Senior Tim Mafe. “People around you who have got in a position. That’s really the best way as young individuals.”

Mafe and Junior Kim Vo have been tapped as the official student recruiters at Blaine High School for a program which teams them up with the Metro North Chamber of Commerce, where Lori Higgins says employers have the opposite challenge.

Higgins, the President of the Metro North Chamber, says 15-18 year olds are the hardest demographic to reach.

“It used to be, back in the day, you open up a newspaper to find a job,” she said. “Well, now, you need to be on Facebook or some sort of social media platform. Businesses are catching up to that. Students don’t think about newspapers. They don’t think about going to a business’ website. So, it needs to be right there in front of them. That’s what we are trying to do.”

Through the pilot program last year, Coon Rapids student recruiters used Instagram and other social media platforms to advertise jobs to the student body. Kim and Tim plan to do the same, calling it Bengals Link.

They receive a stipend for their Business Professionals of America Program and say job posting will go live Thursday night.

While there is no guarantee a student from Blaine will land the job, at minimum, the exposure for businesses willing to hire first-time workers is being made.

“I’m very excited about it. I really want to meet new people and help others enter the business world, because I’m really passionate about business,” Vo said.

At the same time the students are working to recruit potential employees, the Chamber President also says this is an opportunity to get in front of the 3,000 students attending Blaine and help them with things like writing resumes and interviewing.

Spring Lake Park High School is also inquiring about adopting the program as well.