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One solution to the labor shortage: teenagers

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CNBC, November 2021

Amid the nationwide labor shortage, businesses are tapping an unlikely pool of talent: teenagers. Alonzo Soliz, who runs two Tropical Smoothie Café franchises in Cedar Park, Texas, said teens now comprise 90% of his workforce. “We couldn’t get anyone to apply and when we did start hiring people, everyone wanted higher wages,” he said. Soliz bumped the pay to $11 to $14 an hour, nearly double the minimum wage in Texas, and offered perks like free food and flexible schedules to entice more students looking for jobs after school. “For high school kids, this is right up their alley,” Soliz added.

“Not a lot of adults want to jump off the sidelines to take these jobs,” said Alicia Modestino, an economist and professor at Northeastern University in Boston. “Teenagers are suddenly in high demand.”

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