Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 Fort Worth Reporter
Recent graduates of Fort Worth ISD challenged the unemployment rate for teens on Thursday by seeking employment at an annual job fair.
With school out for the summer, teenagers looking for work are competing for a small number of jobs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for 16- to 19-year-olds in May was 24.6 percent, three times the national unemployment rate.
On Thursday afternoon
Hundreds of Fort Worth Independent School District students and graduates looked for a job Thursday afternoon at an annual job fair at the Will Rogers Memorial Center with nearly 100 local companies.
"I want to better myself for the future and actually do something in life," O.D. Wyatt senior Terrance Johnson said.
Johnson said he wants to own his own business and having money for college if his NBA dreams don't come true. Experience will help him do that, but finding a job hasn't been as easy as hoped.
"It's a lot tougher for a student who's still in school to get a job because he has to worry about his school hours and after hours," he said.
Johnson said it made sense to attend the job fair and see so many potential employers in one spot rather than visit them individually.
"I figure if I come here, it'll be a better opportunity," he said.
Teenagers are also competing against adults. With the national unemployment rate at 8.2 percent in May, more experienced unemployed adults are applying for the same jobs as teenagers.
"It is a tough thing," said Renee Baker, business services coordinator for Workforce Solutions of Tarrant County. "But we encourage employers to still look at youth. Youth have a lot to offer when they're applying for these jobs."
Tabitha Smith, workforce program manager for Workforce Solutions, said teenagers shouldn't be discouraged that they're competing with adults at times because they have at least one advantage over adults.
"The market is looking for a younger worker now, someone who is not at a higher wage," she said.
Workforce Solutions helped sponsor the job fair and provides help to teenagers at four of its six county locations.