By Jamie Leary

DENVER (CBS4) – While Colorado unemployment claims are on the decline overall, the state labor department says it’s still tough for teens. Since March, claims among Coloradans ages 16-19 have nearly doubled.

The overall state numbers are still staggering. The state says more than 22,000 regular and federal claims were filed in the week of May 17 to May 23 alone, and over the past 10 weeks nearly 500,000 Coloradans have filed for unemployment.

When it comes to competing for a job, it’s 17-year-old Cynthia Ortiiz’s belief that she can’t find one because so many adults need jobs now, too.

“So, I have applied to a total of four jobs and I have only heard back from King Soopers and they rejected my application and it’s a little bit frustrating because I do have a resume from my internship class,” said Ortiz.

Ortiz is a junior at DSST College View High School. Not does she have internship experience but she won a scholarship from Girls Inc. for her volunteer work with the nonprofit. This, combined with her 3.5 GPA gave her thoughts that finding part-time work would be easy. It has been the opposite.

“I’m trying to look online and I’m trying to look for posters around my neighborhood to see what I can do to get a job.”

Cynthia Ortiiz

(credit: CBS)

She says her friends are running into the same problem, but for Ortiz finding part-time work is about more than having a little extra spending cash.

“I want to help my mom provide for my siblings so I can help … get them clothes, shoes, school supplies, anything that they need for the upcoming school year. So that’s what I’m trying to do and kind of take care of myself and learn some responsibility,” she said.

She isn’t sure why the grocery store denied her application.

“They just told me that they’re looking for other applicants.”

She plans to keep looking.

“Even if I have to go far, I’m willing to do whatever just to make some money for myself and for my family.”

While it’s just a part-time job she’s seeking now, Ortiz eventually wants to be an aerospace engineer.

Additional Resources

While Denver Mayor Michael Hancock recently announced his Summer Youth Employment Program would be moving to a virtual platform, it is accepting applications through June 12. Get more details at

The State of Colorado also has a list of resources for those interested in learning more about how to navigate through the unemployment process.

Jamie Leary


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