Chalkbeat Detroit: Marick Masters on teen essential workers
When you’re an essential worker and a high school student learning online during a pandemic, life can be difficult to balance. The shift to online learning that students across the nation had to deal with was a difficult one. Teens have filled essential roles during the pandemic, keeping restaurants open for people who need it. Often, they’re also helping keep their families afloat, which is important when you consider how many jobs have been lost during the pandemic. In Michigan, the unemployment rate soared to 24% in April, up from 4.3% in March. Marick Masters, a Wayne State University professor specializing in labor markets, said the money teens earn from after-school jobs is “money that they can contribute to the family, for the food bill, the transportation bill, and other incidentials that come into play and can relieve the parents from the obligation of doing that. It is an overlooked aspect, that they are contributors to the family, and that is something that households really depend upon,” Masters said.