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Rock Your Block hopes to help teens earn some cash while helping their neighbors

As the nation recovers from a recession, it's still a depression for teenage job-seekers. The unemployment rate for teenagers was a staggering 27.1 percent last month, nearly three times the overall rate.

The recession appears to have been particularly damaging to teenagers' employment prospects, as laid-off adults trade down to jobs traditionally held by students. A new Minneapolis web startup is aiming to help put some cash in kids' pockets by connecting them with odd jobs around their neighborhood.

Rock Your Block is the brainchild of Sarah Young, who took the idea to last month's Startup Weekend event in Minneapolis, which we covered in a video. The web app will be a place where kids can search for work and advertise their services for things like raking, shoveling or babysitting.

"I wanted to provide a quick, easy, simple way for teens to find odd jobs within their neighborhoods" and avoid the hassle of putting up fliers or knocking on strangers' doors, says Young, whose income as a kid included pay for things like babysitting and dog walking. There is no Monster.com for these kind of chores, and that's what Rock Your Block wants to be.

Young and her team are in the process of working out safety and security issues. Before a child can set up an account, they need to get an adult to vouch for them and pay a sponsorship fee and for an optional background check. When they complete a job, customers can post feedback about their work, which will appear on the teenager's job history.

The company is self-funded for now. They hope to roll out a test version of the site this year with a wider beta launch in 2011.

Source: Sarah Young, Rock Your Block
Writer: Dan Haugen
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