Young adults experience their first jobs as essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic


Emily Schwank, Intern

While many adults are coping with working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, many students and young adults are experiencing changes as their first jobs are found in essential businesses.

Many essential workers commonly seen in grocery stores and restaurants are students and young adults.

Edwyn Velez, a 16-year-old essential worker, said “Due to school closures, I had too much free time and… decided to use that time for important things like work.”

Armando Peña, another young essential worker, said working “would be a great opportunity to earn and save money, considering school was modified,” and it gave him “something to do during the quarantine.”

These young adults are required to abide by the state and county health orders their companies are using for the safety of its customers and employees. Velez said employees at his workplace “must wear masks (and are) no longer allowed dine-in.” Employees are also required to “disinfect everything very often.”

Peña explained the new rules his company has put in place.

“At work, we have to wash our hands every 10 minutes and wear masks to protect ourselves and the customers. We also have the crew split into three different blocks to prevent the spread of coronavirus as much as possible,” he said.

Despite the additional challenges, these essential workers also speak well of their jobs.

“I am glad to help ensure that with our extra caution, we can keep our business running,” Velez said.

Peña said he “enjoyed growing closer with my co-workers” and was glad to have “the opportunity to serve the community.”

Emily Schwank can be reached by email at