The Value of Work for Teens as Well as Adults

April 18, 2023

When I was in second grade, I got a job selling TV Guides door to door to make a little money. By the time I was 13, I had moved on to being a fry cook at a local burger place. At 15, I was stocking shelves at my grocery store. I grew up poor, lived in public housing and watched my parents struggle every day to put food on our table, so having these jobs was a necessity for me. But this early introduction to working was a far greater blessing than a burden.

As Jason Riley smartly notes (“A Little Work Never Hurt Anyone—Including Teenagers,” Upward Mobility, April 12), these jobs taught me the values of being dependable and working hard. In a nation that seems more disconnected than ever with the value of work, these are lessons from which every American kid could benefit.

I recently reintroduced my Let’s Get to Work Act to return work requirements to food-stamp programs, expand those requirements to all able-bodied adults ages 50 to 59 and to parents with children six and older, and to implement those requirements for public housing, which currently have none. For too long, the left has waged a war on work. If we let it go on, it will ruin our country.

We need every American who can work to do so. It’s simple: A job is the best thing for a family. A job brings income, creating independence and security. We need more Americans to understand that, and I bet if we had more young people in the workforce, our future generations wouldn’t have the same problems we have today.

Sen. Rick Scott (R., Fla.)