AVON, Ohio — The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted businesses across Northeast Ohio with many establishments struggling with labor shortages. But youth employment is back on the rise and thanks to a partnership between Avon High School and some local businesses, there's a win-win solution in the works to keep those numbers growing.
In July 2021, 54.4% of people ages 16 to 24 were employed, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported—up from 46.7% in July 2020-- when youth employment was unusually low due to the pandemic.
To keep the numbers up, and to help provide work experience to the next generation, Avon High School has partnered with local businesses like Barry Bagels in Avon to bring in students with disabilities to work part time and prepare them for the transition to the workforce.
"I really like coming here Tuesdays and Thursdays because it's really fun and it just gets me out of class," employee Lauren Trifiletti joked.
Avon teacher Stefanie Buckholz said that research has shown that working with individuals with disabilities in their younger years increases their chance at employment as adults.
While students like Lauren get the hands-on experience they need to prepare them for life as an adult, businesses like Barry Bagels get an extra hand at a time they're in need of one.
Avon Schools has also partnered with Heinen's Grocery Store, Mitchell's Ice Cream and St. Mary of the Woods nursing home to provide students with workplace experience.
Watch the story from New 5 photojournalist Dave Colabine in the player above.
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