Bringing the Economy Home

Lack Of Work Means Fewer Options For One Idaho Teen

Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Igor Autin, 17, is a junior at Boise High School.

StateImpact is reporting on teen unemployment this week, which has meant talking to a lot of school counselors and high school students.  We’ll be wrapping their stories into a radio feature early next week, but in the meantime, we’re introducing a couple of the teenagers here.

First, meet Igor Autin.  He’s a junior at Boise High School, and he’s been looking for a job for months now.  For Autin, work isn’t absolutely necessary.  He has supportive parents and a comfortable home — but he doesn’t get an allowance, and he would love to go to college out of state.  Plus, he knows that work experience now might help him get a better job later on.  When he thinks ahead, to a few years down the road, he’s a bit worried.  “Even after I go to college, sure I’ll have a college degree,” he says.  “But lots of people will have a college degree.  Obviously, anyone who has work experience will be taken into account.”

Autin’s family came to the U.S. from Russia when he was six.  He has watched his parents work hard to build better lives.  At first, he says, his father did carpentry.  His mother went back to school, and eventually opened a daycare.  His father started a photography business.  Autin says they gladly help him with educational expenses, but they also expect him to work.  “They say, ‘if you want money, get a job,'” he says.  “I’m hoping there will be more jobs eventually, but as for now, there aren’t.”

He says he and most of his friends have only found short-term work.  “Garden work, lawn mowing, putting up flyers for people,” he said.  “Not steady reliable work such as at McDonald’s.”  He knows summer-long jobs and regular after-school work used to be more typical, but that’s not the reality now.  “It really puts in a scarcity mentality,” he said.  “Anything I have, I try to save it.  Any amount of money, any amount of work, I’ll take.”


About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »