4 Great Tips to Find Jobs for Teens in Grand Rapids – Plus How Permits Work

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Jobs for Teens go Beyond Babysitting and Burgers

Just when you’ve helped them master their chore charts, your growing kids become independence-seeking teens ready for all the things for teens to do in Grand Rapids.

Soon, they need the cash flow to see that new movie at Studio Park or go to Craig’s Cruisers with friends, and your maturing mini wants to find a job.

For my kids, babysitting and mowing lawns were great first jobs. I’ve seen their friends tutor peers, pet sit, clean houses, or detail cars to make money.


There are lots of options for teens to make a buck. This list by the state of Michigan is loaded with ideas for jobs for teens. 

Read on to discover our tips for how teens can find a job along with some possible job ideas.

4 Ways to Find Jobs for Teens

It’s not as easy as “just getting a job.” But teens don’t know that.

Maybe they could consider volunteering opportunities? Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community.

Plus it’s a chance to get a foot in the door, prove themselves to future employers, and figure out if this is something they enjoy doing. Volunteer work can often lead to paid work!

If you set them up with the tools for success, their foray into the working world can be pretty rewarding.

Here are some more tips that you can take to the bank:

1 – Ask Your Teen to Make a Job Plan

Help your teen prepare for the responsibility of a job by thinking through the process first. Encourage your son or daughter to make a list of goals and answer the following questions together:

How much money would she like to earn? 

Is he saving for something specific? 

Does she have sports, band, or performances to schedule around?

Does he want to work with friends, or make some new ones? 

Is she willing to travel for work and what transportation is available?

What are his interests? Can his love of soccer lead to helping coach younger kids?

2 – Know Michigan’s Rules About Jobs for Teens

Growing up in a rural West Michigan town, my friends detasseled corn in the summer. It was set up through and handled by the school. The job was literally handed to us.

But finding jobs for teens are a little more complicated now.

Today, there are some rules to consider. For me and my kids, simplifying this was the hardest part of the process.

jobs for teens CFA-restaurant
  • A state of Michigan work permit is required for teens. 
  • Teens as young as 14 may work in Michigan.
  • Adult supervision is required on the job site for workers under 18.
  • Hazardous work is prohibited, including delivery driving, operating heavy machinery, and using chemicals labeled as dangerous.
  • There are specific hours that teens are able to work.  
  • During the school year, a minor may work a weekly average of 8 hours per day, but no more than 10 hours in a single day. 
  • They may work no more than 6 days per week.
  • Employees under 18 may not work more than 5 hours without a 30-minute break.
  • For ages 14-15, a weekly maximum total of 48 hours spent at work and school combined, is allowed. 
  • Those 16-17 may work up to 24 hours per week when school is in session, 48 hours when it is not.
  • Teens under the age of 16 may not work from 9:00 PM – 7:00 AM during the school year. 
  • Sunday through Thursday while school is in session,16-17 year-olds are not allowed to work between 10:30 PM and 6:00 AM. When on break from school or Fridays and Saturdays, a child 16-17 is only restricted from working between 11:30 PM until 6:00 AM. 

3 – Learn How Work Permits Work When Finding Jobs for Teens

The Youth Employment Standards Act of 1978 established that anyone under the age of 18 must obtain a permit or written agreement between their employer and the governing school district before beginning employment. Permits can also be printed here.

Take your child to the school office or intermediate school district and request the appropriate work permit for their age. Be sure the student is present and has identification. My daughter used her state-issued ID.

We homeschool, but still needed to go to the school we are zoned for to get a permit. The same applies to virtual and private school students.

I have heard of some kids struggling with the process. If the school’s issuing officer will not issue a permit, reach out to your superintendent.

Anytime a teen changes jobs, a new permit is required. If they are already working, but turn 16, they will need to get a new age-appropriate permit.

The permit must be printed on both sides and filled out completely.

4 – Have Your Teen Consider Their Grades Before Taking a Job

Your teen should be sure to make time for homework, too. The work permit can be revoked based on academic performance at any time. 

My kids have learned valuable time-management and planning skills from their first jobs.

My daughter would write out school assignments and due dates, then decide when she would need to complete them, based on her work calendar.


My son puts in extra school hours every Monday, when he has no sports practices or events, so that he can focus on working as an assistant in a PE class on Thursdays.

If the school feels that the student’s attendance is suffering due to a job, that can also jeopardize their eligibility for a work permit.

Teen Job Ideas Around Grand Rapids

Balancing education and a social life, many teens find work that lines up with their passions.

Look for opportunities through family, friends, and neighbors. Search for postings at schools or community centers. Teens may even see “Now Hiring” signs posted in their everyday routine and favorite places to visit. 

Check the neighborhood Facebook sites. There are always people asking for teens to take on occasional babysitting, pet-sitting and yard work.

Teen Jobs for Athletes & Active Kids

  • Lifeguard or swim instructor at the local pool
  • Trampoline park or activity center
  • Gymnastics instructor or assistant
  • YMCA or MVP SportsPlex
  • Local bike shop
  • Learn to Skate coach
  • Run a holiday camp in your favorite sport
jobs for teens gymnastics

Teen Jobs for Kids Into the Arts

  • Celebration! Cinemas (or any local movie theatre)
  • Music Instructor
  • Run a craft/art class for younger kids
  • Assist a professional photographer on local shoots
  • Explore job opportunities at the public museums and local performing arts theaters
  • Tutor kids in your best subject

Teen Jobs for Kids Who Want a More Flex Schedule

If your teen is good at managing their time and has a professional attitude, they may enjoy going into business for themselves.

They can advertise their services on a neighborhood FB page or with friends and family.

And because they work for themselves, they can decide how many jobs they want to take on at a time and what their availability is.

  • Babysitting or Nanny services
  • Dog walking
  • Dog/cat/pet sitting
  • Watering plants
  • Mowing lawns/weeding
  • Pool cleaning

Jobs for Teens Who Love Kids

Does your teen love kids? Maybe they love mentoring.

  • Tutoring (private or through local tutoring center)
  • Summer camp counselor
  • Summer nanny
  • Offer a regular, drop-off babysitting event
  • If your kid has a caring nature, they could also consider working at a retirement home or assisted living facility, helping with the older generation.
jobs for teens camp

Jobs for Teens in Local Businesses

Your teen is probably a regular at one of your local take-out spots. What if they could work there as well?

They may even offer staff discounts as an added benefit. There are many local businesses that would take on teens.

  • Fast food restaurants
  • Grocery stores
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Hotels
  • Retail shops at the local mall

Get Ready for Your Teen to Learn More Than Just Job Skills

Helping your teen walk through their first commitments as an employee provides many learning opportunities.

When I got sick, I couldn’t drive my 14 year old to work. He could have stayed home, but insisted on going to work by asking another staff member for a ride.


My daughter learned the power of networking when that coaching job at the ice rink opened up a connection with the ice skating director’s company.

That girl just completed an interview at this company, where she hopes to get a grown-up job when she receives her degree in a couple months.

Any More Advice for Teen Jobs?

Getting a job is a big leap toward independence. With a little know-how, it can be rewarding in more ways than the wallet.

Any other jobs for teens tips or ideas to share?

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