Trinity Parkway becomes training ground for students’ first job

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Jamba Job: (Top to bottom) Junior Jazleen Herrera and senior Chris Lara work at Jamba Juice in Trinity Parkway where they learn entry-level skills.

Jason Aquino, Staff Writer

Trinity Parkway, or Park West Place, serves as more than just a shopping center for the community.  Located two miles from Bear Creek, not only is it a social center for North Stocktonians, but for students specifically, it is an accessible gateway to gain work experience.

Trinity Parkway offers a multitude of stores, retail shops and restaurants that provide a variety of job opportunities for local teens looking for income.  Out of the 58 stores located in the center, the most common job destinations are Wendy’s, Sonic, Wingstop, McDonald’s and Jamba Juice.

“My first three jobs were all at places in Trinity,” senior Darren Daquit, former Wendy’s, Wingstop and Sonic employee said.  “I stayed at Trinity because how close it is to my house and school, and also because the environment was not as serious. I was always around other teens, and it made it less intimidating.”

Managers of the respective stores in the shopping center hire local teens specifically for their ambition to work.

“Most of the time, we hire a teen in high school because it is easy for them to want and work for their money, making it easier to schedule hours and shifts,” Jamba Juice manager and Bear Creek alumnus Johnathan Urrutia said.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management website, roughly 38% of teens are employed.  Junior Jazleen Herrera is employed at both Justice and Jamba Juice in Trinity Parkway. 

“I think it’s essential for teens, especially high school students, to start working,” Herrera said.  “For one, being a part of high school extracurriculars requires money and also, I think it’s important to earn the money you spend when going out with friends.”

California state law enforces that high schoolers to work a maximum of four hours during a school day and eight hours during a non school day, with a limit of 48 hours per week when school is out.  Additionally, minors must have an active work permit to work.

“I think having the restricted hours isn’t a bad thing because it gives [students] the time they need for sports, homework and time at home,” senior Miriam Aguilar said.

However, not satisfied with their hours, some teens are eager for more.

“At Jamba, I was only being given eight to twelve hours per week,” senior Mark Metrovich said.  “But now that I quit the job and got hired at Old Navy, I constantly work eight-hour shifts.”

Another aspect of job opportunities at Trinity Parkway for Bear Creek students is its accessibility and social environment.  The shopping center is located off of I-5 and Eight Mile Road, making it a hot spot for travelers but also for locals in North Stockton.

“Almost every shift, I see other Bear Creek students or somebody I know,” senior Jacob Ha, a Jamba Juice employee, said.  “I enjoy it because it makes the shift more enjoyable and makes time go by faster.”

“I think Trinity is the best place to apply when [a teen] is looking for their first job because the variety of stores allows you to find the job that suits your schedule and also is what you actually enjoy,” senior Michael Vang, a McDonald’s employee, said.