BOSTON (CBS) – Just ten years ago, summer work was a rite of passage for teens. These days, that’s not the case.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mary Blake reports:

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Do you remember your summer job when you were a teen? Boston Mayor Tom Menino remembers his.

“One of them was cleaning out furnaces. Ever try to clean out a big furnace in 95 degree weather and you have to climb into a little hole and get soot all over you? Uh, uh! A tough job, but my parents made me do it and I did it,” Menino recalled.

Now, turn the page to teen jobs in 2012. It’s a vastly different picture than just ten years ago.

Neil Sullivan, Executive Director of the Boston Private Industry Council, says the number has plummeted fifty percent.

“You know, if you’re over 30, you remember your summer job and you remember the summer job your friends had. If you’re under 30, you remember who had a summer job, maybe it was you, and you certainly know how they got that hookup, and it probably wasn’t on their own. That’s a different world,” said Sullivan.

Northeastern University Professor Andrew Sum, who heads up the Center for Labor Market Studies, routinely crunches the numbers.

“Of all the age groups in the country, the employment rate for teens varies more widely than that of any other age group,” said Sum.

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He also says income, family type and race groups show great disparity.

“If you are a poor, young black male, the likelihood that you are working this summer is running around 7 or 8 percent,” said Sum. “If you are a white middle class white girl in Massachusetts, it would be about 48 percent.”

Carly Jaren is employed this summer. She is waitressing on Nantucket. She is from Newtown, Pennsylvania, just graduated from high school and is heading to Duke University in the fall.

“I get really good hours here because it’s a breakfast-and-lunch place so it closes at two, so you still get all afternoon for the beach and you get to do whatever you want for the rest of the day,” Jaren said.

Sixteen-year-old Solomon Brehane of Jamaica Plain is a junior at Boston Latin School. He says he has filled out applications.

“I applied for a job and they said they are still waiting for funds. So, I’m still waiting,” said Brehane.

His job wish for the summer is a position with the YMCA of Greater Boston.

“A job at a corner store, a local recreation center would also be great,” said Brehane.

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Mary Blake’s series, Summer Work, can be heard all this week on WBZ NewsRadio 1030.