The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

Development Creates Jobs for Teens, Remains Point of Contention

When Chick-fil-A debuted its Edwardsville location in February, senior Austin Budwell was already a trained employee, thrilled to work for one of the town’s many new establishments.

“I was very excited to work for a company that was grand opening,” he said. “Being with a new business allowed us to become very productive [in] creating a good team for Chick-fil-A.”

Nearly eight months later, he’s still working at the restaurant.

Edwardsville continues to expand its variety of businesses. Chick-fil-A, Kimchi Guys, Hi-Pointe, Clementine’s, the Orchard Town Center development – the list goes on. 

For most, this means more traffic and maybe a new place to eat or shop. For highschoolers, each new business creates another possible employer. 

In a Schoology survey of 82 students, 85% said that the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon area’s growth has made it easier for them to find work. 

“I believe that with the new businesses opening up, the Edwardsville community is going to attract a lot of teens to start a new work life,” Budwell said.

Sophomore Malak Amer doesn’t work yet but plans to job hunt next summer. She has noticed many EHS students working for the new establishments in town.

“I think [the growth] has offered a lot more jobs and opportunities for teens in and around Edwardsville,” she said.

Sophomore Graham Taylor has noticed the same. He said that sometimes he’ll “walk into a restaurant and see like two people from EHS working there.”

However, he’s also heard of issues within the businesses, such as people being hired but rarely given shifts.

“There [are] a lot more places hiring in general,” he said. “A lot of those places hire teenagers, but from what I’ve heard, a lot of places have had really bad management and either way too many [staff members] or not enough … ”

For junior Addie Lingafelter, the problem was boredom. She was excited to start working at Nothing Bundt Cakes when its Edwardsville location opened in June, but quit when she felt like her time was being wasted.

“It was super slow so there was nothing to do,” she said. “I felt like when I was at work, since there wasn’t much to do, I just stressed about the other things I had to do, like school work and violin and such.”

The bakery’s novelty was a main reason why she chose to apply.

“I think since it was new it was like, fresh,” she said. “And the fact that it was new just drew me to work there.”

Lingafelter said that, with all the new businesses, “anyone could get a job.”

Senior Evan Burkey disagrees. He thinks that “availability is the same if not a bit more scarce.”

Burkey said that the increase in businesses is a response to a “growing population,” so the job market is simply adjusting to become proportional to an increasing number of teens in Edwardsville, not actually getting easier to find work in. 

Even so, he has noticed a lot of students working for new businesses.

“ … it makes sense because they are in most need of hiring,” he said.

Some students believe that the job market is more available, but remain in opposition to increased development as a whole. 83% of survey respondents said that the expansion negatively impacts the small businesses that have been here longer.

“I think more businesses and expansion have made the Edwardsville area have a lot of options for not just work but also for free time and meeting locations,” Amer said. “I think some of the smaller businesses are doing worse though, when bigger companies come to the area.”

Taylor finds many of the new establishments out-of-place in Edwardsville.

“I think most of the new businesses are chain restaurants, and they typically are pretty popular for a couple months but really don’t ever integrate into the community,” he said.

And Burkey said that the town has dropped some of its standards to accommodate its increased development.

“Business and expansion have changed the Edwardsville traffic level and also have deviated infrastructural attention away from downtown and toward the new shopping center,” he said. “Unfortunately, because Edwardsville approaches urban development the way they do, the town has lost quality of commute and life.”


About the Contributor
Sami McKenney
Sami McKenney, Opinion Editor
Sami McKenney is a junior, a second-year journalism student, and the opinion editor of The Claw and Tiger Times Online. She is one of two presidents of Creative Arts Club, an officer of NEHS, and a member of NHS, NFHS, French Club, and the Ethics Bowl team. Outside of school, Sami can be found almost every day at Turning Pointe Academy of Dance, either in classes or in rehearsal for its pre-professional company: Tour Dance. Additionally, she is an avid reader, cat lover, and Taylor Swift enthusiast. She hopes to pursue a career in journalism and is extremely grateful to be part of such a supportive program and capable team of staff members with whom to start her journey!