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NIGEL NEEDS WORK

Young Tacoma Man Seeks A Job & An Escape From His Troubled Past

NIGEL WEA, 22, HAS BEEN LOOKING FOR STEADY WORK SINCE HE FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL.

He tried college, but dropped out. He battled a drug problem. He has a misdemeanor shoplifting conviction on his record — all reasons he's only been able to string together odd jobs.

'IT'S PRETTY ROUGH'

Wea says he's tried to clean up his act. He's been actively job-hunting for the past few months. The charges and the long gaps in his employment history are hard to explain. "But I've had quite a few interviews and someone will soon take a chance on me."

Wea heard about a job fair for Tacoma 16- to 24-year-olds through an organization for homeless youth. The fair's organizers say 80 employers set up booths in hopes of hiring teens and young adults.

Wea isn't the only young adult struggling in the current job market. Teen employment rates are at their lowest levels since World War II.

“I've dug a bigger hole for myself. Now, I'm looking up out the hole, looking up at the sky.”

Often, teens can be their own worst enemy in the job hunt. "It's almost like they don't know how to brag about themselves," says Brittany Henderson of the nonprofit group Vadis, who helped train teens in interview skills ahead of the event.

kystokesKyle Stokes

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