The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Entertainment venues provide part-time student work

Piercing the Arlington skyline close to Interstate 30, the Superman Tower of Power and the red oil derrick are familiar to local passersby. Six Flags over Texas provides jobs for area students.  Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian
Piercing the Arlington skyline close to Interstate 30, the Superman Tower of Power and the red oil derrick are familiar to local passersby. Six Flags over Texas provides jobs for area students. Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian

By Mark Bauer/editor-in-chief

(Part two in a four-part series on the turnover in jobs frequently held by students.)

Piercing the Arlington skyline close to Interstate 30, the Superman Tower of Power and the red oil derrick are familiar to local passersby. Six Flags over Texas provides jobs for area students.  Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian
Piercing the Arlington skyline close to Interstate 30, the Superman Tower of Power and the red oil derrick are familiar to local passersby. Six Flags over Texas provides jobs for area students. Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian

The entertainment industry in North Texas is growing, and so are the job opportunities.

With the arrival of the Dallas Cowboys’ new stadium in Arlington, residents will see thousands of potential new jobs as a result. The metroplex already boasts an impressive list of attraction- and tourism-based facilities.

Six Flags Over Texas, Hurricane Harbor, the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and now the Cowboys’ new stadium all sit within a few miles of each other.

But other than location, they all have one thing in common: they need employees.

Heather Blair, managerial supervisor of water operations and human resources at Hurricane Harbor, estimates that roughly 30-35 percent of the employees at Six Flags and the water park consist of college students.

“I would say 45 percent are high school students, and the rest are college graduates or adults who are not in school,” she said.

These percentages are surprising, considering that Arlington is surrounded by universities and colleges. Four schools are within Tarrant County alone—UTA, TCU, Texas Wesleyan and TCC.

And Dallas Baptist University, SMU, UT-Dallas and Dallas County Community Colleges are all within driving distance of the attractions.

Blair, a communications major, recently graduated from TCU and has worked at the water park for seven years—while in high school and throughout college. 

Taylor Low operates one of the park's newest attractions in the last few years, Superman Tower of Power, during Spring Break.
Taylor Low operates one of the park’s newest attractions in the last few years, Superman Tower of Power, during Spring Break. Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian

“It’s a seasonal job, and as such, is literally a summer job,” she said. “But it’s something fun, something different—normal work duties in a different work environment.”

Blair said one potential factor that may detract collegiate attention away from the jobs is the pay.

“Some positions pay only a couple of dollars above the recently raised minimum wage,” Blair said. “But what they lack in pay rate could be made up in availability of hours.”

While the jobs may not pay well enough to cover the cost of a student’s education, many see it as a way to make extra money while in school.

Shon Brooks, 2005 UTA graduate, worked at Six Flags for seven years until he graduated.

“I don’t know that it can fully support you,” he said. “I think that scholarships and student loans are definitely needed to get through.”

Another deterring factor might be the job itself. Many people might view them as high school jobs.

Still, the opportunity to move up and get promotions is attractive and helps retain employees over the years. And that opportunity is more available for college students.

Kimberly Whitehead operates Superman Tower of Power during Spring Break. Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian
Kimberly Whitehead operates Superman Tower of Power during Spring Break. Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian

 

“It’s not that high school kids are not able to perform the job duties of a supervisor, but college students bring another level of maturity and experience to it,” Blair said.

Both Blair and Brooks do not value their work experience by their paycheck or what they can add to their resume.

“I can honestly say that my best friendships, including my marriage, were because of working at the park,” Brooks said.

Similarly, Blair said the camaraderie was the reason for her returning summer after summer.

“Just like any job, you are going to have those times that are difficult,” she said. “But it’s the closeness and working with your best friends that gets you through.”

De'Andre Carter is a full-time student and part-time worker during Spring Break.  Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian
De’Andre Carter is a full-time student and part-time worker during Spring Break. Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian

 

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian