When I was 16, I was emptying bedpans at Astoria General Hospital as an unpaid volunteer. I was unable to find a paid job at the time and opted for experience. A job for a teenager in NYC in the ’80’s and ’90’s often required manual labor, a long subway commute and hours that required one return home late at night or start working at dawn. The lucky ones of my friends worked in bakeries, stocked shelves, swept floors, and wrapped gifts at department stores. I was thrilled to finally get an office job filing at 17 and later selling advertising door-to-door.
In comes the 21st century with a new opportunity for employers and for minors. This new generation is the first generation that may have the skills (and the opportunity) to start working right away, remotely, in the safety of their own homes, in white-collar positions. And both the teenagers and these positions might be available now due to COVID-19. Previously unavailable students, who were fully scheduled with sports, activities, parties, etc. (all the things made impossible by social distancing) can actually participate part-time in today’s workforce (and learn by doing so) and could continue to do so post-crisis without giving up any of their commitments to school and college.