Employment opportunities for students

May 11, 2020

Many students, in need of extra spending money or in effort to save up before college choose to get a part-time job during high school. Work can be a big time commitment, but the freedom that comes from earning money will mean a lot to any high schooler. 

It can be difficult or even impossible to get a new job amidst this Covid-19 crisis, however once the curve has been flattened and things begin to open up to full capacity, a great thing for high school students to do is get a job at a local place to make some money and contribute to the rebuilding of the American economy.


1. Delta Sonic

Delta Sonic is a gas station located on Main Street, easily accessible to any DGN. It is a relatively popular spot for teens to work. 

It pays minimum wage, and below minimum wage in tipped positions, but the benefit of receiving tips is a big perk in comparison to most other places teens tend to work. “You can make a lot of money if you’re willing to work hard,” Delta Sonic employee Carly Hazen said. 

According to Hazen, Delta has a very fast-paced and loud, but casual work environment.  It is not the kind of job where people can slack off or be lazy. 

“If you are not willing or able to put in large amounts of physical effort during every shift, this job is definitely not for you. The job can be very stressful, so you must be able to handle pressure in a calm and respectable manner.”


Pay: $10 per hour non-tipped position, 5.50 per hour tipped positions

Minimum age: 16

Starting positions: Cleaning interiors

Benefits: $4 interior


2. McDonalds

McDonalds is most teenager’s first vision of a first job, the quintessential fast-food restaurant. Employees do all the usual positions, like running a cash register or a part of the drive through, for a starting pay of minimum wage.

In terms of work environment, particularly on busy days employees are required to work quickly. “Every order, no matter what, no matter how big or small, had to be done in under five minutes,” former McDonalds employee Andrew Blaha said.

Even with how fast orders have to be made, there is still room for conversations and close relationships with the rest of the crew.

“I freaking loved working there, the attitude and chemistry with the crew was something else,” Blaha said.

McDonalds has flexible scheduling, allowing for days off and a part-timer’s schedule to fit things like school and sports. Overall, it’s a very friendly place for high schoolers to work.

“I think it’s a good place to start, as long as you go in with an open mind. It’s not an easy place to work at. You get as much as you put in, back out,” Blaha said.


Pay: Starts at minimum wage

Minimum age: 15 with a work permit

Starting positions: Crew

Work environment: Fast-paced, casual, friendly


3. Culver’s

Okay, so admittedly I’m a bit biased here. I’ve been working at Culver’s for almost three years now. Because of the proximity to DGN, its flexible working hours, laid-back and friendly work environment, and tons of free food, Culver’s is a great first job for a high school student to have. 

Employees just starting out tend to be running orders out to customers, but are very soon trained to take orders, operate the drive through, scoop custard, and even work in the kitchen. The Blue Crew is friendly and sociable, but always willing to put their heads down to do a job well. 


Pay: Starts at $10 per hour

Minimum age: 15 

Starting positions: Running food to customers, working cash register

Benefits: Free meal every shift, 20% off if not working that day

Work environment: Friendly, busy


4. Giordano’s

Giordano’s is a Downers Grove favorite in terms of Chicago-style pizza. Located in Downtown Downers Grove, it is very accessible to any student at North, being a five minute drive and well within walking distance of the school.

“Giordano’s is really a special place. All sorts of people eat and work here. We believe that everyone has a niche that fits one of our job options. Being sociable, hardworking, and flexible lends itself to enjoyable and profitable shifts,” Senior Giordano’s employee Alison Wernett said. 

Giordano’s has a close-knit and very sociable work environment which brings together many different kinds of people. “An overall favorite is the charming yet sarcastic employee family we have,” Wernett said.


Minimum age: 16, 18 for drivers, 21 for servers

Positions available to high schoolers: Pizza cooks, hotline chefs, dishwashers, bus boys, and phone clerks

Benefits: 50% discount on all food

Work environment: Sociable, productive, familiar


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