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Building your resume? Disney has an offer

Lisa Napoli May 5, 2006

KAI RYSSDAL: Back when I was in college, you got a summer job because you needed the money. Painting houses, life-guarding, mowing lawns. . . whatever it took. Now, though, college kids have to use their summers for career development. Something substantive. It’s a tighter job market for them, too. Which means they can have their pick of jobs. Marketplace’s Lisa Napoli reports on one company with a special need for youthful energy.

LISA NAPOLI: Add the letters B-A to M-I-C-K-E-Y, and what do you get? College credit for working at Disneyland.

The Mouse House is having a hard time filling 4,000 summer jobs at its California theme parks, which have doubled their staff in the past decade. So Disney’s promising not just ten bucks an hour to work there this summer, but credits and even classes.

Jamie O’Boyle of the Center for Cultural Studies and Analysis, says the Magic Kingdom is just keeping up with a changing world:

JAMIE O’BOYLE: When they first opened up in the 50s, a summer job was just something that a kid did over the vacation and it kept them busy and gave them a little pocket money, but it wasn’t part of your career track. Today the choices you’re making in high school and college are all resume items.

Disney’s not the only employer facing a shortage of younger workers at a time when unemployment is low and 18-year-olds have options. Michele Gonzalez McEvoy of says companies have been campaigning for good workers for the past few years now:

MICHELE GONZALEZ MCEVOY: We’ve suggested and what seems to work best for them is sell their positions a little bit more.

Besides, filling the low-level jobs of today with the best talent is a way for companies to plan for tomorrow. This summer’s hot dog vendor could be an executive someday. Bob Morrison is the co-author of “Workforce Crisis.”

BOB MORRISON: Giving the impending talent and education shortages as the baby boom reaches retirement age, corporations are going to have to be in the education business as they never have before.

Disney’s approaching 50 colleges with the program.

In Los Angeles, I’m Lisa Napoli for Marketplace.

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